• Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.1 2013
  • Update Time: 2014-02-26

  A Study of Mercury as the Season-Telling Star  

  and the Fenye System Based on Mercury’s Movement 

  CHEN Peng 

  Department of HistoryPeking UniversityBeijing 100871China 

  Tianguan Shu, one chapter in Shih Chi, states that observing Mercury could determine the seasons. It also depicts the Fenye system that Mercury’s seasonally lodging constellations respectively correspond to four terrestrial states. This article points out that during Han to Jin period Mercury was generally thought to be observed in the four mid-season months, hence the conviction that it tells seasons. Such a view, though not conforming to modern astronomy, was astrologically significant, so that irregular activities of Mercury beyond mid-seasons were deemed inauspicious. The Mercury-Based Fenye system consists of three elements——time, constellations and states, with a correspondence between the latter two as shaped by the notion of Five Phases. And it is an effect of the geopolitical landscape in early Han that Qi, Chu, Han and Zhongguo were positioned as the four states in four geographical directions in the Fenye system above. This last point, incidentally, is useful for dating the almost identical record in Shi Shi Xingjing (Shi’s Catalogue) quoted by Kaiyuan Zhanjing.  


  Governmental Monopolization and Supply of Calendaric Books  

  in Ming DynastyCirculation and Its Financial Problem 

  WANG Xiaohu 

  (School of Public Administration, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510006, China) 

  Government monopolized the supply of almanacs from Song to Yuan dynasty. Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang relieved the cost of almanacs which should be paid by people in the beginning years of Ming Dynasty. But people should hand in real objects or pay a tax as substitution. The distribution of almanacs was controlled by the privileged stratum, and it was not every family which could get a almanac every year. Using almanac as gifts was a custom in the Ming dynasty. There were more than ten provinces which could get the right to print almanacs, including Zhili region. But in the 10th year of Xuande reign, the government cut Zhili’ a printing amount by a big margin. As a result of supply shortage, thousands of almanacs from other printing places circulated to Zhili privately. To stop the abnormal, the policy in the 7th year of Jiajing reign stipulated that the short supply of almanacs in Zhili should only be circulated by the government. But this policy degenerated into a bribable approach gradually. The innovation after the middle of Ming couldn’t solve the problem in the supply of almanacs. Finally, through the analysis of two crucial elements in the process of conferring calendarproduce &distribute , this paper points out the reason why the allocation of resource was inefficient 


  . Jiang Hui’s Map of Transit-Stars in the Twenty-four Solar Terms  

  and Her Astronomical Activities  

  SONG Shenmi NIU Weixing 

  (School of History and Culture of Science, Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240,China) 

  From the book called Map of Transit-Stars, it is analyzed that Jiang Hui had increased asterisms in the maps of Map of Transit-Stars, modified the relative locations of stars and repaired the verses. And the mistakes in the book are revealed. This paper also explores the evaluation, academic origins and supports, environment of evaluation of Jiang Hui’s astronomical activities through many prefaces and epigraphs recorded in the book. It is discussed that on the one hand, the significance of her astronomical activities lied in her astronomical activities lied in her going in for astronomical work in the capacity of a female, thus promoting the spread of knowledge of stars-spotting; on the other hand, her astronomical activities, which were surrounded with poor astronomical knowledge and didn't intend to spread astronomical knowledge, also reflected her professional degree. Finally, the paper analyses three features of spread and popularization of folk astronomy in the late Qing Dynasty. 


  On Three Problems of Suanshu Shu on Han Dynasty Slips Unearthed  

  at Zhangjiashan 

  WU ZhaoyangJIN Wen 

  (.Nanjing University,Nanjing 210093, China; ) (Nanjing Normal University,Nanjing 210023, China) 

  About the three problems, namely, Chuanma, Zengfu, and Nazhi, of the bamboo book Suanshu Shu unearthed from an early Han dynasty tomb at Zhangjiashan County in Hubei Province, there have been studies done by several researchers. However, some conclusions and interpretations in these studies are incorrect or questionable. Based on the wordings of the problems, laws and rules written on unearthed bamboo strips, similar problems in Nine Chapters on Mathematical Procedures, and different writing styles of Chinese characters in early periods as well, the three above mentioned problems of Suanshu Shu are studied again, and reasonable and credible conclusions of the problems are thus presented in this paper. 


  The Identity of Scholars and Study of Febrile Diseases in Song Dynasty: A Case Study of Guo Yong’s Shanghan Buwanglun 

  LU Mingxin 

  Shandong Normal University Library, Jinan 250014, China 

  A large number of scholars turning to medicine is one of the important features in Song Dynasty. They played an important role in the development of Febrile Diseases study. As a famous scholar, Guo Yong took great interest in medicine. He used many ways to collate the texts of Zhang Zhongjing’s Treatise on Febrile Diseases. The belief in Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Medicine impulsed him to do more close reading of the book. Learning method originated from Cheng Yi changes his view point. The philosophical idea of New Confucianism led him to discover the sameness of different symptoms. The special thinking modes of scholars make the understanding of Treatise on Febrile Diseases more easily. All of above indicates that the identity of scholars makes more progress in Febrile Diseases study than physicians. 


  Approach upon History of Origin and Culture of Plum in China 

  LUO Guihuan 

  Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100190, China 

  Abstract Plum is an ancient fruit tree, which originated from Shaanxi and Henan provinces in north China. There are still a lot of its wild species distributed in west China. From information of archaeology and records of historical literatures, it was cultivated in China for more than 3000 years. Both its fruit and flower were loved by the ancient Chinese, so it played an important role in their material as well as cultural life. 


  A Study on Pictures of Yi Xiang Zheng Nong in the Qianlong Reign 

  SHI Xiaolei 

  (Institute of Science and Social Development, Harbin Normal University, Harbin 150080, China) 

  In the Qianlong reign, Qian Rucheng, who was a vice minister and the governor of Shuntian Prefecture, presented a set of Pictures of Yi Xiang Zheng Nong to Emperor Qianlong. Depicting 24 implements to be used for the ceremony of planting grain, the set of pictures is only one set of farm implement pictures in ancient China. This paper makes a textual research on the time of presentation, which was from the third month of the 26th year to the fourth month of the 30th year of Qianlong reign. The aim of presentation and the compiling style analyzed. The aim is to enable Emperor Qianlong be familiar with these implements used in the ceremony of planting grain, and advocate and encourage the idea of giving priority to agriculture. In compiling aspect, each farm implement is shown by picture with interpretation. The key points of the interpretations lie in tracing back to their history, collecting their popular names, anf introducing their function and usage. Furthermore, the paper emends some explanations of these farm implements and corrects some mistakes about references cited. 


  A Contrast Study on the World Bellows before the Industrial Revolution 

  HUANG Xing, QIAN Wei 

  (Institute of Historical Metallurgy and Materials, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083) 

  Bellows could be classified into displacement compressor, centrifugal fan and some subtypes in the world before the Industrial Revolution. Their evolvement could be investigated from using stronger power, improving mechanical efficiency as well as the designing of befitting structure. There was a high similarity for the original skin blasting which might be invented in different regions independently. For the advanced bellows, there a great difference between those from China and Europe. It was supposed that the bellow technology of China was better than that of Europe for a long time till the Song dynasty. There might be a sequence for “wood bellow, one-piston single-acting double-cylinder bellow, double-piston single-cylinder bellow and one-piston double-acting bellow” in ancient China. Their performance and stability were significantly affected by the operators. Chinese bellow technology might be spread to East Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, North Africa and Madagascar. It was also supposed that the European bellow technology developed slowly in its early stage, but it could easily achieve wind stability for being driven by gravity, and was more convenient for using water-power, so its performance was improved greatly in modern times, and the development of steel industry was pushed forward effectively. Chinese winnower was applied to agricultural processing and tunnel ventilation. It was invented in the Han dynasty, then matured slowly, and was spread to Japan and Europe later. The origin of native European winnower needs a further research. It has been figured out by digital simulation that the rotate speed of winnower was so slow that the wind press was too low to be used for smelting. 


  Joseph F. Rock and the Taxonomy of Hawaiian Sandalwood (Santalum) 

  LIU Huajie 

  (Department of Philosophy, Peking University, Beijing 100871China) 

  The taxonomy of sandalwood (Santalum) wildly distributed in the Hawaiian Archipelago with special cultural and economical value has not been completely settled in the past century. The self-taught naturalist Joseph F. Rock (1884-1962) made substantial contributions to the description and classification of this genus, one of which is correcting an error in identifying the species Santalum freycinetianum. Reviewing the case of sandalwood will help us construct a more comprehensive portrait of Rock for understanding him from a new angle. Rock’s work removed a key obstacle and paved the way for the further studies of R.L. Stemmermann and Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii by W.L. Wagner et al. Recently the DNA sequences analysis by D.T. Harbaugh et al. gave new insights about sandalwood’s evolution and updated the taxonomy of all species around the world. But Rock’s work has not become out of fashion in all aspects, and even in the research of molecular level published not long ago, Rock’s field work is also found to be included. Moreover, Rock’s natural history studies are of great importance to the ecology and environmental history of Hawaiian Islands.