World Heritage in China

Watertight-bulkhead technology of Chinese junks

Updated: Jul 31, 2018 Print
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A ship model which demonstrates the watertight-bulkhead technology of Chinese junks [Photo/Xinhua]

The watertight-bulkhead technology of Chinese junks was one of the great inventions of shipbuilding history. The craft was invented in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and was widely adopted after the Song Dynasty in Fujian province.

The junks were mainly made of camphor, pine and fir timber, and assembled through such key technologies as joggle joints and caulking the seams between the planks with ramie, lime and tung oil.

This technology realized the building of ocean-going vessels with watertight compartments. If one or two cabins are accidentally damaged in the navigation process, seawater will not flood the other cabins and the vessel will remain afloat.

This sort of junk is usually built by a large number of craftsmen, who work in close cooperation under the instruction of a master.

The invention greatly improved the safety of navigation and reflected the wisdom of ancient Chinese craftsmen.


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