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Spices and cotton: Mughal Indian economy

By |2018-04-23T14:30:47-07:00July 19th, 2017|Economy, India|

Japanese painting of Portuguese bringing Indian cargo to Japan (1500s AD) Under the Mughal Empire, India continued to make a lot of money by trading things back and forth between East Africa and West Asia to their west, and South-East Asia and China to their east. Mostly Indian traders sold medicine and  pepper and cinnamon and other spices to West Asia. They sold glass beads and cotton cloth to [...]

Economy in Archaic Greece

By |2019-01-31T07:07:58-07:00July 5th, 2017|Economy, Greeks|

Archaic Greek economy: A black-figure vase showing a blacksmith at work (Athens, about 550 BC) Not much trade in the Dark Ages During the political collapse of the Greek Dark Age (about 1200-1000 BC), many Greek people did not have children, or left for other countries. There weren't so many people living in [...]

Cotton, wool, silk, hemp – Ancient India projects

By |2018-04-18T19:35:05-07:00June 11th, 2017|Clothing, Crafts, India|

Cotton bolls hanging from the plants People in India were the first to grow cotton, about 2500 BC. It took four thousand years to spread cotton growing from India to China and Europe. But wherever people were, when they did get cotton they really liked it. Why is that? What is it about [...]

Making a Chinese scroll – Ancient China project

By |2018-04-18T09:53:50-07:00June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts|

Chinese scroll made by kids at Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon Chinese people began to write about 1500 BC. People usually wrote vertically, from the top of the page to the bottom in columns. They read the text beginning from the right side of the page, the reverse of what we do. After Ts'ai Lun [...]

How to make a kite – Ancient China projects

By |2018-04-18T09:54:10-07:00June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts|

Chinese painting of kite-flying The earliest kites were probably invented in China about 800 BC, during the Zhou Dynasty. People made these early kites out of bamboo and silk. Chinese people flew kites for fun, and also used kites in war to carry messages, to signal people far away, and to carry explosives into [...]

Spinning rope and fishing nets

By |2018-04-18T22:44:15-07:00June 8th, 2017|Central Asia, Clothing|

Spinning fishing nets: a Roman mosaic of a fishing net, Hippo Regius, Algeria (200s AD) Hand spinning All of the cloth used in the ancient world was made with thread produced by hand spinning very slowly. There are different methods: the spinning whorl can be at the top of the spindle or at the [...]

What is silk? Ancient Chinese clothing

By |2018-09-21T06:05:50-07:00June 8th, 2017|China, Clothing|

Silkworms and silk history Silkworms make silk People make silk from the cocoons of silkworms. Have you ever seen a butterfly cocoon? It is just like that. You have to take zillions of these cocoons and unwind them carefully, and that makes long threads like spider webs, and you spin these together to [...]

History of Knitting: Who invented knitting? Nalbinding and sprang

By |2018-01-15T14:20:43-07:00June 8th, 2017|Africa, Clothing, What|

History of knitting: Nalbinding hat from Urumchi (ca. 1000 BC) Nalbinding and sprang Even before the invention of spinning and weaving, people were making cloth using early forms of knitting we call "nalbinding" or "sprang", which used one needle to hook together short lengths of yarn. Probably people started this early knitting as [...]

Women in early China: swimming to foot-binding

By |2018-05-07T14:31:34-07:00June 6th, 2017|China, People|

Early Chinese women: A Chinese woman playing polo (T'ang Dynasty, 700s AD) China has always been influenced by the cultures to its south - India and Southeast Asia - where women have little power, status, or freedom. But China has also been influenced by the cultures to its north and west in Central [...]

Stone Age China – Early Chinese History

By |2019-02-27T07:20:16-07:00June 6th, 2017|China, History|

Jade dragon-pig from New Stone Age China When did the first people come to China? Early people made it to China about 700,000 years ago. They were Homo Erectus, and maybe some Denisovans. One example is "Peking Man".They had dark skin and wide flat noses. These people lived in caves. They made fires [...]