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By Christopher Cullen

It is a examine and translation of the Zhou bi suan jing, a chinese language paintings on astronomy and arithmetic that reached its ultimate shape round the first century advert. the writer offers the 1st simply obtainable creation to the constructing mathematical and observational practices of historic chinese language astronomers and indicates how the new release and validation of information in regards to the heavens in Han dynasty China similar heavily to advancements in statecraft and politics. This publication should be attention-grabbing examining for students within the background of technology, chinese language heritage, and astronomy.

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Read or Download Astronomy and Mathematics in Ancient China: The 'Zhou Bi Suan Jing' (Needham Research Institute Studies) (1st Edition) PDF

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Extra info for Astronomy and Mathematics in Ancient China: The 'Zhou Bi Suan Jing' (Needham Research Institute Studies) (1st Edition)

Example text

But it may well be that this evaluation is due to our own presupposition of the primacy of spatial cosmography along what we take to be typically Greek lines. A Babylonian might well have seen Ptolemy's work differently, and I think that most Chinese astronomers would have tended to agree with him. Cosmography in ancient China Like all ancient cultures, China had a rich fund of stories to explain the origins of human civilisation and the universe within which human beings existed. For the present purpose, however, we need not concern ourselves with the Chinese equivalents of Atlas in ancient Greece or of Tiamat in Babylonia.

Our concern is largely with views that were advocated on grounds that were to some extent explicitly and systematically argued. In many aspects of ancient Chinese thought the most creative period is the three centuries from 500 to 200 BC, roughly from the time of Confucius to the rise of the Han. However, so far as the surviving texts show, the shape, size, arrangement and motions of heaven, earth and the celestial bodies do not seem to have become the centre of much debate before the first century BC.

For our example, system origin had conjunction and winter solstice coinciding at midnight, and these conditions will have repeated at the beginning of the fifth bu. Each of the four zhang in a bu commences with the same coincidence but 3/4 day later each time. It will be recalled that the pattern of insertion of the seven intercalary months is the same in each zhang of nineteen years. Now since 7x7/19 = 49/19 = 2 11/19 it is evident that during the first seven years of the zhang there will have been two intercalations.

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