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Clay Model of a Winnowing Machine and a Trip Hammer
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2022.06.02 16:38:19

Measurements: W.23.5 cm, H.12.3 cm, D. 35 cm
Period: Western Han dynasty( 202 BC-9 AD)
Provenance: Unearthed at Sijiangou, Jiyuan, Henan, 1969

Made of red terracotta, it was created in the form of the outdoor grain-husking workshop, and it is made up of pestle, mortar, winnowing machine, two operating figures, one is in squatting posture, husking the grain by operating the trip hammer, the other is standing and laboring.

This simple model of agricultural machinery for processing grain is created based on the principle of lever mechanics, which shows that the ancients began to process grain with windmills as early as in the Western Han dynasty (about 2,000 years ago).

The trip hammer evolved out of the use of the pestle and mortar. A long shaft was fixed on a wooden frame which served as a lever and fulcrum respectively, one end of the shaft was equipped with the hammer, the other end was treadled by operator, comparatively, it is more efficient and easier than the pestle and mortar. The winnower was made up of fan, crank, shaft, and shutter; and it was always employed along with the trip hammer.

Apart from the trip hammer and winnower, stone grinder was also invented at the time. These agricultural mechanical inventions reflected the great innovations and advancement of agricultural science during the Han dynasty.