Granting the Seasons: The Chinese Astronomical Reform of 1280, With a Study of Its Many Dimensions and a Translation of its Records (Google eBook)

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Springer Science & Business Media, Dec 19, 2008 - Astronomy - 670 pages
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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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Contents

2 Year Surplus and Annual Difference
271
3 Angular Extensions of the Lunar Lodges along the Celestial Perimeter
291
4 Tread of the Sun
296
5 Expansion and Contraction of the Solar Motion
297
6 Slackening and Hastening of the Lunar Motion
300
7 Crossing Cycle of the White Way
304
8 Day and Night Marks
309
Evaluation of the SeasonGranting System Part 2 9 Eclipses
311

Astronomical Reforms
38
The Politics of Astronomical Reform
56
Observatories
60
Mathematical Tools
61
Metrology
67
Celestial Motions
97
Eclipses
106
Stars
113
Precision and Accuracy
115
The Enigma of DeltaT
116
Comparisons with Europe and Islam
119
Conclusion
131
The Project Origins and Process
133
The Process
146
The Astronomers
151
Liu Pingchung
153
Wang Hsun
156
Kuo Shouching
158
Chang I
160
Hsu Heng
161
Chang Wenchien
163
Yang Kungi
164
Chen Ting
168
Specialists
169
The Observatory and its Instruments The Observatory
171
Predecessors of the Yuan Project
176
The Instruments of the Reform Project
179
Ming Instruments
211
Influence on the System from the West
218
Conclusion
225
The Records
227
Astronomical Treatises
230
Transmission and Publication
234
Studies
238
Conclusion
246
Evaluation of the SeasonGranting System
248
Evaluation of the SeasonGranting System Part 1
254
10 Corrected Conjunctions
367
11 Disuse of Accumulated Years and Day Divisor
370
Canon of the SeasonGranting System Part 1
389
2 Pacing the Putting Forth and Gathering In
399
3 Pacing the Tread of the Sun
408
4 Pacing the Travel of the Moon
452
Canon of the SeasonGranting System Part 2
487
6 Pacing Crossing Coincidences
497
7 Pacing the Five Stars
516
Conclusion
551
Accuracy of the Seasongranting system
557
A Final Word
559
The Instruments of Kuo Shou ching
560
The Celestial Globe
566
The Upwardfacing Instrument
567
The Template and Gnomon
569
The Shadow Aligner
570
The Observing Table
571
The Account of Conduct of Kuo Shouching
573
Water Control
574
The Polar Altitude Survey
577
Predecessors of the Reform
579
Topics of Research
582
New Methods
586
Documents of the Reform
588
Water Control Continued
590
Character
591
Kuos Uniqueness
594
Technical Terms
597
Constants English
604
Named Results Chinese
606
Constants Chinese
613
Acknowledgements
616
Bibliography
617
Secondary Sources
623
IndexGlossary
650
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About the author (2008)

Nathan Sivin is professor of Chinese culture and of the history of science at the University of Pennsylvania.

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