A.D. 1900 - Present
The Museum Proper
Replica or Original:
Not a Replica
On Display, In Storage, or in a Private Offsite Collection:
7" x 4" x 4" each
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).
Tools & Equipment for Science & Technology
Inscriptions, and/or Markings:
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.
"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
A.D. 1900 - Present