Heavenly Clockwork: The Great Astronomical Clocks of Medieval China

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CUP Archive, 1986 - Technology & Engineering - 266 pages
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A reissue with a new foreword and supplement, of a modern classic published in 1960. The invention of the mechanical clock was one of the most important turning points in the history of science and technology. This study revealed six centuries of mechanical clockwork preceding the first mechanical escapement clocks of the West of about AD 1300. Detailed and fully illustrated accounts of elaborate Chinese clocks are accompanied by a discussion of the social context of the Chinese inventions and an assessment of their possible transmission to medieval Europe. For this revised edition, Dr Joseph Needham has contributed a new foreword on recent research and perceptions. In a supplement John H. Combridge details a modern reconstruction of Su Sung's timekeeping device, which together with textual studies modifies our understanding of this important early technology.
  

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Contents

BIOGRAPHY OF SU SUNG
5
TRANSMISSION OF THE TEXT OF SU SUNgs BOOK
10
SU SUNGS MEMORIAL TO THE EMPEROR Ch TSUNG
15
TRANSLATION OF SU SUNgs THIRD CHAPTER
28
EXPLANATION OF SU SUNgs CLOCKWORK
48
THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF SU SUNgs CLOCK
60
Armillaries before Su Sung p
61
Dialfaces and anaphoric clocks p
64
Horology in the south after the fall of the capital a d 1126 p
126
The fate of Su Sungs clock in the north among the Chin Tartars p
131
Clockwork under the Mongols thirteenth and fourteenth centuries p
133
Entry of the Jesuits with their selfsounding bells p
142
The Jesuits as makers and repairers of clocks in nomine Dei p
148
The merchants of the singsong trade p
150
Ming sand clocks p
154
A Korean orrery p
161

The deceptive language of Han HsienFu eleventh century p
68
The mercury drive of Chang SsuHsiin tenth century p
70
IHsing and the first evidence of the escapement eighth century p
74
The adventurous life of Keng Hsiin sixth century p
83
A survey of Chinese clepsydra technique p
85
The birth of the celestial globe fifth century p
94
Chang Heng second century p
100
THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLOCKWORK AFTER SU SUNG
114
Sung dynasty politics and competing clockmakers p
118
Chinese opinions of Jesuit clockwork p
163
GENERAL HISTORY AND TRANSMISSION OF ASTRONOMICAL
179
Chinese horary systems
199
Supplement
206
Bibliography to Supplement
216
Tables of Chinese Characters
229
Index
243
Copyright

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About the author (1986)

Joseph Needham FRS (1900-1995) was the founder of the Science and Civilisation in China project.

Ling Wang is an authority on the history of Chinese tea.

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