Artifact Date:

A.D. 1900 - Present

Artifact Era/Dynasty:

1912-Present

Creator:

Unknown

Creator Ancestory:

Unknown

Department:

The Museum Proper

Replica or Original:

Not a Replica

On Display, In Storage, or in a Private Offsite Collection:

On Display

Primary Material:

Glass

Medium:

Glass

Dimensions:

7" x 4" x 4" each

Listen

00:00 / 01:04

    

Three glass containers holding Saltpeter, Charcoal, and Sulphur, the components of gunpowder.

An artistic display of glass sculptures containing samples of saltpeter, charcoal and sulphur (from left to right).

玻璃瓶內分別展示了製作火藥的原材料,其中包括硝、碳,和硫(從左至右)。

    

Classification/Category:

Tools & Equipment for Science & Technology

Specific Classification:

Components

Notable Signatures,

Inscriptions, and/or Markings:

Donated by:

Accession Number

1993.013.001

Catalogue Entry

At the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre, our museum presents an artistic display of glass sculptures containing samples of charcoal, nitrogen and sulfur, the components of gunpowder.


Gunpowder was invented in China during the mid-9th century CE by Chinese alchemists attempting to create an experimental scientific solution that would promote immortality. Alchemists infused a mixture of saltpeter (potassium nitrate, which contains nitrogen), charcoal (carbon) and sulfur. The concoction would prove to have the opposite effect of immortality, as it violently combusted when exposed to an open flame.


While the discovery of gunpowder would initially be used in fireworks, its destructive power would be put to use by the Song Dynasty military. Around 904 CE, the Chinese utilized gunpowder technology to fight their enemies, namely the Mongols. Gunpowder was utilized through flaming arrows, bombs and other predecessors to modern military explosives, such as land mines.


In 1076, the Song government realized the incredible potential of gunpowder and was quick to ban the flammable saltpeter from trade outside of China. Despite preventative measures taken, “secret” information regarding the technology of gunpowder was divulged to the Middle East and Europe.


我們的博物館以玻璃瓶展示了火藥的成分,其中包含硝酸鉀、木炭、和硫磺的樣本。


火藥是在公元9世紀中葉由中國煉金術士在中國發明的,他們當時正在研究創造一種能夠促進永生的實驗性科學溶液。煉金術士在實驗時試圖將硝石(硝酸鉀,其中含有氮)、木炭(碳)和硫混合在一起。然而,這種混合物在暴露於明火時會猛烈燃燒,因此火藥被譽為具有永生不朽的相反效果。


雖然火藥的發現最初是用於煙花,但宋朝軍隊卻將它的破壞力引用到戰爭之中。大概公元904年左右,中國人利用火藥技術與敵人(即蒙古人)作戰。火藥在多種武器中亦有被使用,例如在燃燒的箭、炸彈和其他現代軍事炸藥(如地雷)的前身。


1076年,宋朝政府意識到火藥無窮的潛力,便迅速禁止可燃硝石在中國以外的貿易。儘管當時立刻採取了預防措施,但有關火藥技術的「秘密」信息還是被洩露到了中東和歐洲。

Online References:

"Gunpowder: Origins in the East": https://www.brown.edu/Departments/Joukowsky_Institute/courses/13things/7687.html
Szczepanski, Kallie. "The Invention of Gunpowder: A History. Chinese Alchemists Mix Explosives": https://www.thoughtco.com/invention-of-gunpowder-195160

Artifact Date:

A.D. 1900 - Present

1912-Present

Artifact Era/Dynasty:

Unknown

Creator:

Unknown

Creator Ancestry:

Catalogue Entry

Online References:

"Gunpowder: Origins in the East": https://www.brown.edu/Departments/Joukowsky_Institute/courses/13things/7687.html
Szczepanski, Kallie. "The Invention of Gunpowder: A History. Chinese Alchemists Mix Explosives": https://www.thoughtco.com/invention-of-gunpowder-195160

Department:

The Museum Proper

On Display, In Storage, or in a Private Offsite Collection:

On Display

Replica or Original:

Not a Replica

Three glass containers holding Saltpeter, Charcoal, and Sulphur, the components of gunpowder.

An artistic display of glass sculptures containing samples of saltpeter, charcoal and sulphur (from left to right).

玻璃瓶內分別展示了製作火藥的原材料,其中包括硝、碳,和硫(從左至右)。

Listen

00:00 / 01:04

Classification/Category:

Tools & Equipment for Science & Technology

Specific Classification:

Components

Notable Signatures,

Inscriptions, and/or Markings:

Primary Material:

Glass

Medium:

Glass

Dimensions:

7" x 4" x 4" each

Donated by:

Accession Number:

1993.013.001

Saltpeter, Charcoal, Sulphur 火藥 (硝,碳,硫)