Kao Gong Ji: A Translation and Commentary

The First Chinese Technology Encyclopaedia


In Kao Gong Ji: A Translation and Commentary, Guan Zengjian and Konrad Herrmann offer an English translation and commentary of the first technological encyclopaedia in China. This work came into being around the 5th century C.E. and contains descriptions of thirty technologies used at the time. Most prominent are bronze casting, the manufacture of carriages and weapons, a metrological standard, the making of musical instruments, and the planning of cities. The technologies, including the manufacturing process and quality assurance, are based on standardization and modularization. In several commentaries, the editors show to which degree the descriptions of Kao Gong Ji correspond to archaeological findings.

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Biographical Note
Guan Zengjian is a Professor of History of Science at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He has published monographs, translations, and many articles on History of Science, especially on the history of Chinese science and metrology.

Konrad Herrmann worked as a metrologist and sinologist at the national metrology institute of Germany (PTB). He translated several works of classical and contemporary Chinese literature. Since his retirement, he has translated extensively in the field of history of Chinese science.
Table of contents
Abbreviations and Conventions List of Illustrations List of Tables

   On historical editions and commenting of “Kao Gong Ji”
   Historical background of “Kao Gong Ji”
   Location and period of origin of “Kao Gong Ji”
The text
   Manufacture of chariots
   The wheelmaker
   The carriage carpenter
   The pole carpenter
   The bronze caster
   Bronze bells
   Measuring standards
   Agricultural tools (missing)
   The tanner
   The drum maker
   Tailor of mourning garments (missing)
   Furrier (missing)
   Dyer of feathers
   Dyer of clothes (missing)
   Dyer of silk
   The jade polisher
   Comb maker (missing)
   Bone carver (missing)
   The manufacturer of chimes
   The arrow tip manufacturer
   The potter
   The carpenter Ziren
   The weapon carpenter
   Construction workers
   The carriage manufacturer
   The bow manufacturer

Analysis – Commentaries
   Manufacture of carriages
   Bronze technology
   Bronze objects – Vessels, weapons, mirrors
   Musical instruments
   Ceramics and porcelain
   Civil engineering
   Manufacture of bows

Index of Personal and Geographical Names
Index of Subjects
All historians, sinologists, graduate students, technologists, metrologists, and anyone who is interested in Chinese history, science history, and culture.
Index Card