Part 1. In Search of Technological Thought in China


The Chinese had already dedicated a classical text to the question of technics during the Ionian period (770–211 BC). In this text, not only do we find details of various technics—wheel-making, house-building and the like—but also the first theoretical discourse on technics. In the classic in question, the Kao Gong Ji (考工記, A Study of Techniques, 770–476 bc), we read:

Provided with the timing determined by the heavens, energy [氣,ch’i] provided by the earth, and materials of good quality, as well as skilful technique, something good can be brought forth through the synthesis of the four. [天有時,地有氣,材有美,工有巧。合此四者,然後可以為良]