Chapter

The construction of the <i>Essence of numbers and their principles</i>

Catherine Jami

in The Emperor's New Mathematics

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199601400
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729218 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199601400.003.0015
The construction of the Essence of numbers and their principles

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The mathematical compendium resulting from the work done at the Office of Mathematics under Prince Yinzhi's supervision, the Essence of numbers and their principles imperially composed was printed in 1722, a few months before Kangxi's death. It is the longest and the most lavishly illustrated single mathematical work ever printed in imperial China. This chapter shows how the treatise's introductory chapter places it within a tradition of learning going back to the mythical founders of the Chinese civilization. While most of the treatise's content was derived from the lecture notes produced by the Jesuits in the 1690s, these were rewritten within the structure of a unified field of mathematics.

Keywords: imperial mathematics; treatise; Jesuits; Prince Yinzhi

Chapter.  9973 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Mathematics

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