*Catherine Jami*

- Published in print:
- 2011
- Published Online:
- January 2012
- ISBN:
- 9780199601400
- eISBN:
- 9780191729218
- Item type:
- book

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199601400.001.0001
- Subject:
- Mathematics, History of Mathematics

This book explores how the mathematics the Jesuits brought to China was reconstructed as a branch of imperial learning so that the emperor Kangxi (r. 1662–1722) could consolidate his power over the ...
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This book explores how the mathematics the Jesuits brought to China was reconstructed as a branch of imperial learning so that the emperor Kangxi (r. 1662–1722) could consolidate his power over the most populous empire in the world. Kangxi forced a return to the use of what became known as ‘Western’ methods in official astronomy. In his middle life he studied astronomy, musical theory, and mathematics in person, with Jesuits as his teachers. In his last years he sponsored a book that was intended to compile these three disciplines, and he set several of his sons to work on this project. All this activity formed a vital part of his plan for establishing Manchu authority over the Chinese. This book sets out to explain how and why Kangxi made the sciences a tool for laying the foundations of empire, and to show how, as part of this process, mathematics was reconstructed as a branch of imperial learning.Less

This book explores how the mathematics the Jesuits brought to China was reconstructed as a branch of imperial learning so that the emperor Kangxi (r. 1662–1722) could consolidate his power over the most populous empire in the world. Kangxi forced a return to the use of what became known as ‘Western’ methods in official astronomy. In his middle life he studied astronomy, musical theory, and mathematics in person, with Jesuits as his teachers. In his last years he sponsored a book that was intended to compile these three disciplines, and he set several of his sons to work on this project. All this activity formed a vital part of his plan for establishing Manchu authority over the Chinese. This book sets out to explain how and why Kangxi made the sciences a tool for laying the foundations of empire, and to show how, as part of this process, mathematics was reconstructed as a branch of imperial learning.

*Catherine Jami*

- Published in print:
- 2011
- Published Online:
- January 2012
- ISBN:
- 9780199601400
- eISBN:
- 9780191729218
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199601400.003.0001
- Subject:
- Mathematics, History of Mathematics

This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to contribute to the study of science in the Qing period, specifically emperor Kangxi's engagement with mathematics. It relies on ...
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This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to contribute to the study of science in the Qing period, specifically emperor Kangxi's engagement with mathematics. It relies on and hopes to further two major changes in the historiography. First, science was no longer seen as an immutable body of ideas that wins assent through its obvious truth (as missionaries once believed that the Christian religion ought to do). Instead, one has to account for the circumstances that gave rise to the circulation of knowledge and for the ways in which knowledge was shaped by this very circulation process. Secondly, this process cannot simply be reduced to a dichotomy opposing China to Europe. Rather, it is necessary to locate the various actors of ‘Western learning’, both Chinese and European, in order to understand its diverse content and the different stakes behind it. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.Less

This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to contribute to the study of science in the Qing period, specifically emperor Kangxi's engagement with mathematics. It relies on and hopes to further two major changes in the historiography. First, science was no longer seen as an immutable body of ideas that wins assent through its obvious truth (as missionaries once believed that the Christian religion ought to do). Instead, one has to account for the circumstances that gave rise to the circulation of knowledge and for the ways in which knowledge was shaped by this very circulation process. Secondly, this process cannot simply be reduced to a dichotomy opposing China to Europe. Rather, it is necessary to locate the various actors of ‘Western learning’, both Chinese and European, in order to understand its diverse content and the different stakes behind it. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

*Catherine Jami*

- Published in print:
- 2011
- Published Online:
- January 2012
- ISBN:
- 9780199601400
- eISBN:
- 9780191729218
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199601400.003.0002
- Subject:
- Mathematics, History of Mathematics

This chapter outlines the beginnings of Western learning in China during the years 1582 to 1644, the last six decades of the Ming dynasty; it discusses the Jesuits' teaching of mathematics in China ...
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This chapter outlines the beginnings of Western learning in China during the years 1582 to 1644, the last six decades of the Ming dynasty; it discusses the Jesuits' teaching of mathematics in China during that period, and the translations that resulted from their work. The most famous of these is the Jihe yuanben (1607), a rendering into Chinese of the first six books of Euclid's Elements of geometry. One of the reasons for the success of the Jesuits' teaching was the perceived relevance of their mathematical knowledge to statecraft. In 1629, some of them were employed to work on calendar reform, the need for which had been felt for almost half a century.Less

This chapter outlines the beginnings of Western learning in China during the years 1582 to 1644, the last six decades of the Ming dynasty; it discusses the Jesuits' teaching of mathematics in China during that period, and the translations that resulted from their work. The most famous of these is the Jihe yuanben (1607), a rendering into Chinese of the first six books of Euclid's *Elements of geometry*. One of the reasons for the success of the Jesuits' teaching was the perceived relevance of their mathematical knowledge to statecraft. In 1629, some of them were employed to work on calendar reform, the need for which had been felt for almost half a century.

*ANDREA BRÉARD*

- Published in print:
- 2013
- Published Online:
- September 2013
- ISBN:
- 9780199656592
- eISBN:
- 9780191748059
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656592.003.0003
- Subject:
- Mathematics, Combinatorics / Graph Theory / Discrete Mathematics, History of Mathematics

Combinatorial practices in China go back to high antiquity, when divinatory techniques relied on configurations of broken and unbroken lines. The Yijing or I Ching (Book of Change), compiled under ...
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Combinatorial practices in China go back to high antiquity, when divinatory techniques relied on configurations of broken and unbroken lines. The Yijing or I Ching (Book of Change), compiled under the Zhou dynasty, has transmitted these practices up to the present time and has been a widely commented upon and read source. But combinatorial practices in China were not limited to divination and magic squares: a large number of early sources also described games such as Go and chess, and games with cards, dominoes, and dice, that show a combinatorial interest from a more mathematical point of view. The earliest source that systematically discusses permutations and combinations is an 18th-century manuscript. Although mathematics had by then been introduced from Europe, the manuscript is clearly based on traditional mathematical concepts and algorithmic modes. This chapter shows how early combinatorial practices provided a framework for later mathematical developments in imperial China.Less

Combinatorial practices in China go back to high antiquity, when divinatory techniques relied on configurations of broken and unbroken lines. The *Yijing* or *I Ching* (Book of Change), compiled under the Zhou dynasty, has transmitted these practices up to the present time and has been a widely commented upon and read source. But combinatorial practices in China were not limited to divination and magic squares: a large number of early sources also described games such as Go and chess, and games with cards, dominoes, and dice, that show a combinatorial interest from a more mathematical point of view. The earliest source that systematically discusses permutations and combinations is an 18th-century manuscript. Although mathematics had by then been introduced from Europe, the manuscript is clearly based on traditional mathematical concepts and algorithmic modes. This chapter shows how early combinatorial practices provided a framework for later mathematical developments in imperial China.