• Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.3 2004

Studies in the History of Natural Sciences  NO.3 2004




The Cyclic Sacrificial System of King Diyi,His Reigning Yearsand the Beginning of the Year Towards the End of Shang……XU Fengxian

【Abstract】 Among the cyclic sacrificial materials in the Huang Group oracle bone inscriptions of the final years of Shang and inscriptions of late Shang,those belong to King Diyi densely cover the period from the 2nd to the 10th year of his reign,making a perfect sacrificial sequence.By reinspecting these materials and analyzing their sequence in calendar,this paper proves that they can be put into one calendar,and the calendar of this period is basically fixed by constraints among the different materials.Via calendrical calculations the sacrificial system of King Diyi and that of King Dixin are connected,and it can be concluded that King Diyi might have reigned for 21,26 or 31 years,of which 26 years being the most probable.The connecting results of the two sacrificial systems show that from the 2nd year of King Diyi’s reign to the 1st year of King Dixin’s reign the beginning of the years had quite changed,which offers calendrical evidences for the claims set forth thus far that the beginning of the year during late Shang falls into summer or autumn.




On the Sutra of Time and Non-Time Preached by Buddha……NIU Weixing

【Abstract】 After a preparatory interpretation on the material of the noon shadows preserved in a Chinese translation of the Sutra of Time and Non-Time Preached by Buddha, the terms of Time and Non-Time are then determined in this paper. Two important parameters, namely, the height of gnomon by which the noon shadows were measured, and the latitude of the place where the noon shadows were observed, are worked out further. It is concluded that:(1) the measurements for the noon shadows of Non-Time were made in northwest India and Kashmir, instead of Rajagrha, the capital of the ancient Indian kingdom Magadha; (2) the lengths of shadow of Time were most probably prescribed by Buddha himself; and (3) the two sets of data of Time and Non-Time reflect the spread of Buddhism from its cradle to northwest India.




Discourses on Celestial Omens and Disastrous Occurrences in the Political Context of the Northern Song……SUN Xiaochun

【Abstract】 Abnormal celestial events and disastrous natural phenomena were the subject that had attracted considerable attention in ancient China. This perhaps was partly due to the character of Chinese cosmological thinking that emphasized unity, order and harmony between Heaven, Earth and Man, and thus was particularly sensitive to abnormal phenomena which by definition were disuniting, disorderly and unharmonious. But a more decisive reason was the fact that this knowledge had been developed by Confucian scholars into a particular learning that related celestial omens and disastrous phenomena to the governance and politics of the state. “When a nation is about to flourish, there are sure to be auspicious omens; and when it is about to perish, there are sure to be inauspicious omens.” Thus discourses on celestial omens and disastrous occurrences became a legitimate part of Classic learning, which was the pillar of Confucian learning in imperial China. It became a useful instrument for political criticism and power struggle in a society with Confucian ideas dominating. In this article we deal with discourses on celestial omens and disastrous phenomena by scholars of the Northern Song, particularly by those who participated the political debates on Wang Anshi’s New Policy Reform. It provides a case study of relations between the learning about celestial omens and disastrous phenomena on the one hand, and state politics on the other.




Andromedids Recorded in Chinese History and Relevant Researches……ZHUANG Tianshan

【Abstract】 Based on the collection and collation of material about Andromedids recorded in the history of China,as well as on some researches,five conclusions have been drawn. (1)Comet Biela projects a large number of particles 5 times before fission,while the law that the projection happens every 4 periods proves that the gravitational effect on Comet Biela is periodic.(2)The projection is in a forward direction so that the rocket effect is especially evident.At the same time,the cycle shortens continuously but unevenly for it shortens for 9 days every time the Comet returns,yet the orbital eccentricity doesn’t change.(3)After disintegration,the orbital width of meteoric dust is 10 million kilometers in 1798,and 5 8 million kilometers in 1885.The diffusion speed of the meteoric dust to the two sides of the orbit is 0 69 meter per second,while the separating speed of the second celestial body of the Comet is 7 meters per second.The former is one tenths of the latter.(4)Based on the statistical figures calculated by H. A. Newton about the density of a meteoric shower that happened in 1885,the densities and quantities of several large meteoric showers recorded in Chinese history have been estimated,including the estimation to the minimum of some confused concepts in ancient and folk accounts,such as stars falling like rain,beyond counting,innumerable and numerous.Along with the estimation for the meteoric densities and quantities of some special phenomena,such as the brightness of the sky which can cover that of the stars and moon,the shining phenomena looking like aurora,the sound produced by the atmosphere and the fear of the observer.(5)The sole scientific phenomenon of “the moon looks like falling off ”recorded in the history of China is explained incidentally.




A Study on Huang Zongxian’s Seven Methods for Inscribed Circle……LI Wenming

【Abstract】 In his treatise Seven Methods for Inscribed Circle,the Qing mathematician Huang Zongxian extended questions of incribed circle from four aspects,and especially resolved new questions about inscribed circle by the use of conical section,locus and logical inference of Western mathematics,some of which are not lacking in originality and accomplishment.The blending of mathematics of the East with that of the West in the late Qing Dynasty is also treated in this paper.




Probing into the Academic Evolution of Tongue Inspection of TCM Before 1949……LIANG Rong

【Abstract】 The academic evolution of tongue inspection of TCM is investigated in this paper.Although there were descriptions about glossal manifestations in diseases in the literatures before Song Dynasty,tongue inspection as a diagnostic method had not been formed.During the Jin Dynasty,abnormality of tongue coating was considered as a main symptom or sign for syndrome differentiation of diseases caused by harmful cold factors,and that established the foundation of tongue inspection.Monographs on tongue inspection that appeared in the Yuan Dynasty proved the new theory “On Fire and Heat” for diseases caused by external factors.But over a long period of time,physicians had been trying to study and develop tongue inspection by utilizing syndrome differentiation of six meridians that had already been a therapeutic mode for diseases due to exogenous attack.The tongue inspection for exogenous diseases was released from syndrome differentiation of six meridians until the sect of warm diseases became mature gradually and tongue inspection of syndrome differentiation of superficial resistance,nutrition,vital function and blood was founded.Hence, tongue inspection could extend its application from diagnosing exogenous attacks to diagnosing internal disorders.And the theoretical sector of it is the establishment of orientation of internal organs on the tongue;the technical sector of it is the confirmation of the relationships between tongue color and components of human body like internal organs,the function of vital energy & the state of blood as well as body fluid.This academic transformation was completed towards the end of Qing Dynasty.In the last years of Qing Dynasty and during the period of the Republic of China,deepgoing study was conducted for the tongue inspection that was regarded as a typical model for the integration of Chinese and Western medicines.And such study has significant importance for the spread and application of tongue inspection.