Dating system used bc
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Around 2,200 BC the Egyptians in the lower Nile region discovered that a type of reed, papyrus, could be formed into a writing surface by overlapping thin strips which had been soaked for a long time in water, and then pounding and pressing it into a sheet.But it wasn't really paper as we know it, and it was difficult to write on, and expensive.
The invention of paper as we know it came in China around 105 AD.This became known as block printing, and was very similar in concept to the Chinese seal.This technology produced the first ever book with a verifiable printing date in 868. This was nearly 600 years ahead of the first printed book in Europe.It was used to spread Confucian knowledge and Buddhist sutras.Building on this idea, in the Sui Dynasty (581-618AD) there developed the practice of carving text on a wooden board, which was then covered in ink, and then it was printed page by page onto sheets of paper.These are paper, gunpowder, the compass and printing.
Interestingly the word 'paper' is derived from 'papyrus'.
During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and Song Dynasty (960-1279) many varieties of paper were developed, including bamboo paper, hemp paper, hide paper and xuan paper.
Xuan paper is used in Chinese painting and calligraphy because of its smoothness and durability, and its whiteness. The second great invention, which goes closely hand in hand with paper, was printing.
Over thousands of years China has produced a great stream of inventions, ranging from the mundane chopstick and wheelbarrow, to sophisticated earthquake detectors and the advanced concept of bank notes.
But in China there are four inventions traditionally referred to as the Four Great Inventions.
One mistake could ruin the entire block, and once used the block became useless, because it was unique.