Jiuzhang Suanshu

  • Karine Chemla
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9348

The Nine Chapters on Mathematical Procedures (Jiuzhang suanshu 九章算術, hereafter abbreviated to The Nine Chapters) is the oldest Chinese book devoted to mathematics that has been handed down through a written tradition. Mainly composed of problems, answers to them, and algorithms solving them, the book was probably compiled in the first century after the Common Era. The earliest piece of evidence bearing witness to its existence is the mention of its title in the inscriptions borne by a standard measuring vessel enacted by the Chamberlain for the National Treasury (Dasinong 大司農) in 179.

The main reason why The Nine Chapters survived may well be that, soon after its completion, it became a “Canon” (jing經). This is the term which the first commentator whose comments on it came down to us, Liu Hui 劉徽, uses for it. Consequently, several commentaries were composed on it, two of which were selected by the tradition to be handed down with the Canon: Liu Hui's commentary, completed in 263, and...

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  • Karine Chemla

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