• Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.2 2013

A Research on the Day&Night Time in Annotated Calendars from Dunhuang

WANG Xiaohu

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

As a special item seen in annotated calendarsju zhu li rifrom Dunhuang, Day&Night Time in ancient Chinese calendar could be used as a guide for changing Loujian when people operated LoukeClepsydra. This paper collects all the annotated calendars from Dunhuang which noted Day&Night Time.Annotated calendars from Dunhuang were composed of two parts: preface and annual table. This paper combines the two parts, then explains the evolution about Day&Night Time in annotated calendars from Dunhuang. By a comprehensive study of some books on divination in ancient China, the paper points out that the Day&Night Time noted in annotated calendars from Dunhuang follows a particular rule. After comparing those calendars with Da-Tang Yin-Yang Shu from Japan, it finds the regulation of the whole Day&Night Time system. Finally, it explains the position of Day&Night Time system in annotated calendars from Dunhuang in the history of astronomy.


Solar Eclipse Calculating Precision and Its Analysis of Jiyuan Li

TENG Yanhui1TANG Quan12

(1. School of Mathematics and Information Science, Xianyang Normal University, Xianyang 712000, China

2. Research Center for the History of Mathematics and Science,Northwest University,Xi’an 710127,China

Jiyuan Li is the most representative calendar in Song dynasty. The computation process of solar eclipse in Jiyuan Li is reconstructed and a computer program of such a computation is compiledThis paper calculates all solar eclipses from AD 960 to 1276 in Song dynasty using the methods of Jiyuan Li.. Comparing these calculations with modern values, the paper estimates the accuracy of the calendar. The results are as follows: the biggest error of middle of eclipse is 1.2588 hours and the average error is 0.4033 hours. The maximum error of the magnitude of eclipse is 6.2 and the average error is 1.3. Based on the calculation for its accuracy of the real new noon, the average error of shicha can be obtained. It is about 0.5 hours and is bigger than the theoretical result. Finally, the paper points out that the calculation on solar eclipse is not optimization and the precision of equation of time is low. However, considering of the final results of calculation of solar eclipse, the numerical algorithm system of eclipse is still very reasonable and excellent.


The Actual Applications of the Chinese-Islamic System of Calendrical Astronomy in the Ming Dynasty as Seen from the Encroachments of the Moon and the Five Planets in the 10th Year of the Xuande Reign

SHI Yunli1LI Liang2 LI Huifang1

(1. University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 200026China;

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

The Encroachments of the Moon and the Five Planets in the 10th Year of the Xuande Reign turns out to be an important astronomical document disseminated from the Ming Dynasty in China to the Choson Dynasty in Korea during the 1440s, detailing the close approaches, or encroachments, of the Moon and the Five Planets to each other, as well as of them to various fixed stars, during the entire course of the 10th year of the Xuande Reign. This paper shows that the results in the document have been calculated with the procedure solely available from the Chinese-Islamic System of Calendrical Astronomy compiled in the early Ming Dynasty. It is quite obvious that the purpose of these calculations was for the astrology based on the close approaches of the said bodies, which turned out to be the very motive behind Zhu Yuanzhang’s decision to translate Islamic astronomy and astrology. Combined with other newly discovered materials, it is clear that the Chinese-Islamic System of Calendrical Astronomy was applied by the Ming government not only to the prediction of the lunar-solar eclipses as it is known, but also to the calculation of the civil calendarsastronomical ephemerides and the celestial encroachments. Moreover, it is also found that astrological interpretations based on the latter results were actually used by Zhu Yuanzhang in some of his political activities.


Exchange and Sharing of Interest in Scientific Undertakings: Observatory of Zi-Ka-Wei and Modern Meteorological Station Network Founded in China

WU Yan

(Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot 010022China)

Based on archives and scientific reports, this paper studies the modern meteorological business and meteorological station network founded by Jesuits in the Observatory of Zi-Ka-Wei. Depending on its ability in terms of meteorological forecast. This obove-mentioned provided meteorological service for institutions and ships of US and UK in China timely. On the other hand, with the help of these concerned interest groups, especially the Customs, this observatory established the first meteorological station network in China, and initiated a set of meteorological signals. The exchange and share of interest embodied in scientific business is the point of the paper.


A Primary Study on Suanhai shuoxiang

GAO Feng1, FENG Lisheng2

(1.The Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences.Beijing 100190,China;

2.Institue for History of Science and Technology & Ancient Texts, Tsinghua University.Beijng 100084,China)

Based on Cheng Dawei’s Suanfa tongzong, Suanhai shuoxiang was written by Li Changmao. It inherited and developed the content of Chinese ancient mathematics. Some scholars believed that Suanhai shuoxiang was the annotation work of Suanfa tongzong, so they hadn’t paid enough attention to it. In this paper, the authors firstly give an introduction of Li Changmao, the author of Suanhai shuoxiang. Then, they make some comparison between two versions of it. Finally, basing on the discussion about the structure and content of it, they attempt to make objective evaluation of it.


On the Idea of the Harmonization Among Musical Tone, Calendar and Metrology

DAI Nianzu1 ,2WANG Hongjian2

(1. Department of Physics, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China

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

The musical tone, calendar, weights and measures of the metrology were regarded as harmoniousness to each other in ancient China, in which the former is the foundation of the latter two. Such an idea is based on the corresponding relationship of their numbers, and the parameters of musical tone can be used as the basic data of the calendar and weights and measures. In addition, these numbers are intertwining with several numbers of the universe, nature and philosophy mysteriously, thus the idea becoming a particular ancient cultural concept and spreading for thousands of years. This kind of cultural phenomenon had certain effect on the development of these three subjects respectively in ancient times, but it also produced the pseudoscience, namely “the Houqi theory”. This paper makes a preliminary discussion on this history, clearly points out the origin that the calendar and weights and measures come from temperament,and answers some people's related doubts.


Commentary on Yang Weide’s Life and His Scientific Achievements

BAI Xin1, WANG Luoyin2

(1. Department of PhysicsCapital Normal UniversityBeijing 100048China; 2. Harbin institute of Technology, Research Center of History of Science and Technology and Development Strategy, Harbin 150080, China)

As a scientist in Northern Song Dynasty, Yang Weide made great achievement in the area of astronomy and physics. Based on a textual research and review on Yang Weide’s life, this article summarizes and discusses Yang’s scientific achievement, and points out that Yang Weide was the main maker of Jingyou Qianxiang Xinshu, including the famous Yang Weide Catalogue. He was the observer and recorder of the Supernova of 1054 A.D., which would be of great significance to modern astrophysics, and he also discovered geomagnetic declination and recorded its exact numerical value.


Creation and Transformation of the Chinese Term of Moment in Physics

WANG Guangchao

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

Moment is a basic conception in physics. Western missionaries and their Chinese partners created some Chinese terms of moment which were confused and not uniform. During the early period of the twentieth century, the Japanese term Nenglv was widely used in Chinese physics textbooks. It might be originated from Zhongxue Qianshuo. Wu Guangjian was the first one who used the term Ju in Mechanics published in 1904, but this term did not win general acceptance in the early period of the twentieth century. Finally, Nenglv was replaced by Ju in the 1930s. Chinese scientific community and National Institute of Translation and Compilation played an important role during this course.


An analysis Put Down Natural Production Record of Felts

and Carpets in Yuan Dynasty Great Encyclopedia of the Yongle Reign

ZHAO Hansheng

(Institute for the History of Natural Science, CAS, Beijing 100191China)

Production Record of felts and carpets in Yuan Dynasty is msz file about felts and carpets in Production Chapter in Huangchao Jingshi dadian of Encyclopedia dealing with Government Compilation by the government in Yuan Dynasty, included in Volume 4872 of Yongle Reign. Although the existing words have been much less than those of the original text, most recorded contents could not be found in other documentation of Yuan Dynasty. This book is not only the most important literature studying the production of felts and carpets in ancient times, but also the indispensable documentation studying social economy, politics and technologies in Yuan Dynasty. This paper mainly gives interpretation to the productive facility of textile and the items of weaving and dyeing recorded in the book, as well as does preliminary study to the value of its historical materials.


The Typological Transformation and the Possible Route of Distribution of Ancient Chinese Scissors during 11-13th Century


(Institute for the History of Natural Science, CAS, Beijing 100190, China)

During the 11th to 13th century, the ancient Chinese spring scissors were gradually replaced by the support shaft scissors, which are similar to the present-day scissors. Archaeological evidence indicates that support shaft scissors were found frequently in area that were reigned by the Khitans and subsequently, the Nuchens. However, in the area reigned by the Song Dynasty at the same time, the support shaft scissors were found scarcely. Support shaft scissors were probably distributed from north to south within China and from west to east in the Eurasia via the Steppe. From the perspective of the history of technology, the candle scissors that appeared as early as the Han Dynasty did not impel the wide application of the support shaft scissors. The similarity of the manufacturing technology between the west and the east easily led to the rapid spreading of the knowledge of support shaft scissors in China.


A Study on Imperial Bronze Type in the Qing Dynasty


(Institute of Qing HistoryRenmin University of ChinaBeijing 100872China)

The imperial bronze type in Qing Dynasty is a classic topic in the history of typography in China. Due to the lack of documents, archives and material objectshowever, the academic circles are still quite confused about itwhich has become a much discussed issue. Aided by the newly found first-hand archives, this paper proves that in 1716in order to compile and print Gujin tushu jicheng (Collection of Books Ancient and Modern)Emperor Kangxi granted Chen Menglei's request to set up the Institute of Bronze Typography in Wuying Hall. And then Chen and his partners made more than one million bronze types in both big and small sizes. In 1744Emperor Qianlong approved Prince Hongzhou to melt the 1015433 bronze types to cast the Buddhas of Three Periods in the Yonghegong Lama Temple but not to cast coins as commonly believed. Besidesthere were 188404 bronze types without words were melt to cast bronze furnaces and bronze lions for furnishing. Howeverthe existence of bronze types without words not only proves that there were still huge amounts of reserved bronze types but also reveals that the production of the imperial bronze types in the Qing Dynasty included two steps: cast bronze types without words firstly and then carve on them .