Jiuzhang suanshu (or Chu Chang Suan Shu, Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art)

Jiuzhang suanshu is a very influential book in the history of Chinese mathematics. It is the earliest specialized mathematical work in China that survives to the present day. It is available in German (K. Vogel 1968), in Russian (R. I. Berezkina 1957), and in English (D. B. Wagner 1978). It is unclear when this book was produced. However it is estimated that the book was first assembled at the Han dynasty (during the first century).

This book contains a total of 246 questions in nine chapters (hence the name Nine Chapters). For each question in the book, there is only answer given. The method of solving the question is omitted. A possible explanation is that this book was used as a textbook. The teachers probably did not want the students to know the answer. Also if there were methods in the book, the teacher then could not learn their living by teaching!

Here is the opening of Chapter 1 of the Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art.

Jiuzhang Chapter 1


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This page is created by Keith Wong.
Any question about this page may also be addressed to Dr. Len Berggren at
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada.