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Lu Ban

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Name  Lu Ban
Role  Engineer
Siblings  Lu Jiang

Lu Ban Lu Ban Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

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Lu Ban (c. 507–444 BC) was an ancient Chinese carpenter, engineer, and inventor. He is revered as the Chinese god of builders and contractors.


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Lu Ban was born in the state of Lu, possibly at Dunhuang, to family of carpenters or artisans during the Spring and Autumn period of the Zhou dynasty. His original name was Gongshu Yizhi. He was also referred to as Gongshu Ban or Pan. He was supposed to have been an indifferent pupil until his love of learning was kindled by the scholar Zi Xia. He later learned woodworking from Bao Laodong. The great demand for his work supposedly compelled him to invent or improve a number of carpenter's tools—the saw, the square, the planer, the drill, the shovel, and an ink marking tool—to complete his many projects more quickly. His wife was also credited with inventing the umbrella in order to permit him to work in inclement weather.


According to tradition, he was responsible for several inventions:

  • Cloud ladder—a mobile, counterweighted siege ladder.
  • Grappling hooks and ram—implements for naval warfare.
  • Wooden bird—a non-powered, flying, wooden bird which could stay in the air for three days. It has been suggested to be a prototype of a kite.
  • Other inventions were also attributed to him, such as a lifting implement to assist with burial, a wooden horse carriage and coachman, and other woodworking mentioned in various texts, which thereafter led Lu Ban to be acknowledged as a master craftsman:

  • The Book of Lineages (Shiben), written c. the 3rd century BC.
  • The Tales of the Marvellous (述异记), by Ren Fang, written c. the 5th century AD.
  • The Records of Origin on Things and Affairs (事物纪原), by Gao Cheng, written c. the 11th century.
  • The Origin on Things (物原), by Luo Qi, written c. the 15th century.
  • The Treatise of Lu Ban (鲁班经), attributed to Lu Ban, written in the 13th, 14th, or 15th century.
  • Legacy

    Lu Ban is revered as the god of carpentry and masonry in Chinese folk religion. His personality is assumed by the master carpenter involved in the construction of houses among the Dong. He is sometimes counted among the Five Kings of the Water Immortals, Taoist water gods invoked by sailors for protection during transit.

    He is referenced in a number of Chinese idioms. The Chinese equivalent of "teaching one's grandmother to suck eggs" is to "brandish one's adze at Lu Ban's door". His cultural companion is the stoneworker Wang Er, who was his rough contemporary.

    The modern artist Shi Lu has claimed that Lu Ban was an alias of his contemporary Confucius, but this seems dubious.


    Lu Ban Wikipedia