Preliminary research on the mathematical knowledge in Confucian classics: the case of Jia Gongyan’s commentary on the Rites of Zhou. (Chinese. English summary) Zbl 1349.01010

Summary: By analysing an excerpt from Jia Gongyan’s commentary on the Rites of Zhou, this paper uncovers mathematical knowledge different from that previously known from Chinese mathematical sources, for example the Nine chapters on mathematical procedures. The differences cover several aspects: the structure of the procedures, cognition of numbers and figures, modes of reasoning and the use of counting rods. On the other hand, similar mathematical knowledge to that of Jia Gongyan existed in other Confucian canons. Moreover, a scholar, Wang Zhenru, commented on Confucian canons with Jia Gongyan, and later commented on mathematical books with Li Chunfeng. This paper emphasizes the necessity for further study of the mathematical knowledge in Confucian canons, and the relationship between Confucianism and mathematics.


01A25 History of Chinese mathematics

Biographic References:

Jia, Gongyan