Geometry in Chinese Mathematics

Reference work entry

The earliest evidence of a systematic organization of regular shapes reproduced on material objects found in China dates from the third millennium BCE or even earlier. Painted motifs displaying geometrical patterns such as symmetrical arrangements of triangles, lozenges, or circles have been found on pottery pieces unearthed at Banpo 1(near present‐day Xi'an) and other archaeological sites. These designs demonstrate an early interest in spatial ordering and are perhaps at the origin of subsequent developments even though we are now unable to establish any continuity between prehistoric and historic Chinese mathematics. Nonetheless, several Chinese myths and legends attest that the plumb line, the compass, the carpenter square, and the gnomon (a post of standard height) were commonly used in Zhou China (1121–256 BCE). This last instrument, in particular, was considered so important that the Chinese began founding their astronomical and calendrical conceptions on the determination of...

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  1. The Journal Sciamus:
  2. Original text of Cavalieri's Geometria Indivisibilibus:

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