Granting the Seasons: The Chinese Astronomical Reform of 1280, With a Study of Its Many Dimensions…

Hardcover | October 20, 2008

byNathan Sivin

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China's most sophisticated system of computational astronomy was created for a Mongol emperor who could neither read nor write Chinese, to celebrate victory over China after forty years of devastating war. This book explains how and why, and reconstructs the observatory and the science that made it possible. For two thousand years, a fundamental ritual of government was the emperor's "granting the seasons" to his people at the New Year by issuing an almanac containing an accurate lunisolar calendar. The high point of this tradition was the "Season-granting system" (Shou-shih li, 1280). Its treatise records detailed instructions for computing eclipses of the sun and moon and motions of the planets, based on a rich archive of observations, some ancient and some new. Sivin, the West's leading scholar of the Chinese sciences, not only recreates the project's cultural, political, bureaucratic, and personal dimensions, but translates the extensive treatise and explains every procedure in minimally technical language. The book contains many tables, illustrations, and aids to reference. It is clearly written for anyone who wants to understand the fundamental role of science in Chinese history. There is no comparable study of state science in any other early civilization.

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From the Publisher

China's most sophisticated system of computational astronomy was created for a Mongol emperor who could neither read nor write Chinese, to celebrate victory over China after forty years of devastating war. This book explains how and why, and reconstructs the observatory and the science that made it possible. For two thousand years, a f...

From the Jacket

China's most sophisticated system of computational astronomy was created for a Mongol emperor who could neither read nor write Chinese, to celebrate victory over China after forty years of devastating war. This book explains how and why, and reconstructs the observatory and the science that made it possible. For two thousand years, a f...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:670 pages, 9.25 × 6.1 × 0.27 inPublished:October 20, 2008Publisher:Springer New YorkLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0387789553

ISBN - 13:9780387789552

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface.- Introduction.- Astonomical reform and occupation politics.- Orientation.- The Project: origins and process.- The Astronomers.- The Observatory and its instruments.- The Records.- Evaluation of the season-granting system, part 1.- Evaluation of the season-granting system, part 2.- Canon of the season-granting system, part 1.- Canon of the season-granting system, part 2.- Conclusion.- Appendix a: the instruments of kuo shou-ching.- Appendix b: the account of conduct of kuo shou-ching.- Appendix c: technical terms.- Acknowledgments.- Bibliography.- Index-glossary.

Editorial Reviews

From the reviews:"The present book is a brilliant and wide-ranging study of the famous Shoushi li . . To sum up, the present book will constitute at the same time a necessary basis of further investigations into Chinese astronomy and, more broadly, a landmark with respect to the history of world astronomy." (J.-C. Martzloff, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1166, 2009)"The present book is a study and translation of the astronomical treatise as found in the official History of the Yuan Dynasty . . The text has been very well revised and carefully edited . . it is an excellent and fairly complete source and reference book in a Western language for the specialist and non-specialist in the history of astronomy in China." (Andrea Bréard, Mathematical Reviews, Issue 2009 i)"This impressive work is a detailed, technical study of the most innovative and significant astronomical system for generating annual almanacs in Chinese history. . will be of special interest to historians of mathematics. . Two appendixes in Sivin's account are also noteworthy and deserve readers' attention." (Joseph W. Dauben, The Mathematical Association of America, December, 2009)