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Engineers, here is your Chinese God-Patron Lu Ban !


Station 太空站​​​​​​​

25 July 2018 (The 13th day of June according to Luna Calendar) is the birthday of Lu Ban (魯班)who is an ancient Craftsman who is worshiped by Civic engineers and contractors. He was born in around 507 B.C.Here’s all you need to know about Lu Ban:

He hacks cities

Lu Ban invented the siege ladder and it was used for military purposes. That’s what led to a contest between Lu Ban and pacifist Mo Zi who was very much against launching war between the six nations. They made simulations of the war on a table (very much a boardgame), while Lu Ban represents the advancing side, Nation of Chu, to apply all sort of techniques to invade the nation of Song, Mo Zi was the defending side. Eventually Lu Ban couldn’t break in to Mo Zi’s seamless defence and declared failure. A war was thus stopped. (Did Lu Ban just conducted the first security audit in history? hmmm )

He is a builder

He built numerous things including a flying bird (to be used as a spy), saw, right, drill. He is exceptionally productive. Yet, apart from the handy tools, the reason he is respected is that he helped others develop as well! He invented the angle ruler and the inked fountain to help with objective measurements. He is a master in Axe. He also share with others the best ratio of Axe design so that they don’t break easily. That is why the idiom “brandish one’s axe at Lu Ban’s door” means making yourself a fool in front of a pro.

He is worshiped like a god

Every year at Hong Kong’s Lo Pan Patron Temple (Lo Pan is the Cantonese of Lu Ban), there are ceremonies to celebrate Lu Ban’s birthday. Many workers, students and contractors from the construction industry, painters, craftsman alike would have a day-off and visit the temple to join the dragon dance and enjoy a meal. It is said that Patron Lu Ban will bless their business and skills.

In Taiwan, his temples are called the Saint of Marvellous Skills Temple(巧聖廟) and scattered around the country.

He knows magic

Well, as least according to some mystical scriptures. According to Taiping Guangji (written in 978 A.C.), Lu Ban once caused a drought in a neighbouring nation as a revenge for the death of his father. His father stoled his commuting kite to The Nation Wu, and was mistaken as a monster, and got beaten to death.

He is cross-disciplinary

Lu Ban worked mainly with wood but he also do other medium such as iron. He makes basic tools but also military spy and widgets. He even invented an avian transportation so that he could have sex with his wife while he works abroad. Probably not software coding though…

Other ancient Chinese builders to look up:

YanShi 偃師

He built a ShowBiz Robot which can dance and sing. She was destroyed by the then King Zhou for she seemed to flirt with one of the concubines!

ZhuGeLiang 諸葛亮

He built a transportation robot called the Wooden Ox Flowing Horse 木牛流馬.

Ma Dai Fung 馬待封

He built an automatic make up robot servant for the queen and an automatic wine filler for the King.

More readings:

Joseph Needham: Science and Technology in China


Yuk Hui: The Question Concerning Technology in China: An Essay on Cosmotechnics





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