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Chinese Antique Seismograph 3D Model

In 132 AD, in the then national capital of Luoyang, Zhang Heng made the ancient seismograph to determine the direction of an earthquake. Contrary to popular belief at that time, Zhang Heng maintained that earthquakes were not signs of Heaven’s anger but natural disasters.
The seismograph was made of fine copper, and was an urn-like instrument with a central pendulum. The instrument was cast with eight dragons on the surface whose heads pointed in eight directions -east, south, west, north, southeast, northeast, southwest, and northwest, each one holding a copper ball in its mouth. Below the dragons were eight copper toads raising their heads and opening their mouths opposite the dragons’ mouths. The inner side of the seismograph was ingeniously constructed: when an earthquake occurred, an earth tremor would cause the pendulum to lose balance and activate a set of levers inside. Then, one of the eight dragons outside the urn would release the bronze ball held in its mouth. The ball would fall into the mouth of the toad and give off a sound, letting people know when and in which direction an earthquake had occurred.


File Formats

  • 3D Studio (.3ds)
  • 3D Studio Max file (.max)
  • Autodesk FBX file (.fbx)
  • Wavefront (.obj)

Technical Specifications

Published: On March 19, 2015
Materials: Yes
Textures: Yes
Rigged: No
Geometry: Polygonal