Chinese Mathematics in Ancient China Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1633 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Education - Mathematics

As a result, there is scant trace of the advanced knowledge that characterized ancient Chinese mathematics.


Much of modern mathematics today emerges as re-discoveries of principles and techniques already applied by the ancient Chinese. Pascal's Triangle, for example, was already in use as early as the 13th century in China. The Chinese had also unknowingly employed the mathematical principles of the ancient Greeks before these works were rediscovered by European mathematicians like Carl Friedrich Gauss.

Despite their early advancement, however, there is little evidence of any ancient Chinese principles on mathematics today. In contrast, ancient Arabic and Hindu principles can be discerned in the techniques and number notation system employed today.

In addition to the destruction of ancient Chinese mathematical texts, the decline of Chinese traditional methods can also be traced to Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit missionary who lived in China during the mid-16th to late 17th century. Ricci is widely credited with introducing Western mathematics to China. Ricci became proficient in Chinese language and culture. As a sign of the Chinese people's esteem for the European scholar, Ricci was allowed to visit and live in Peking, which until then had been closed to foreigners (Spence 5-9).

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In addition to studying, Ricci also shared with the Chinese scholars the mathematical knowledge he learned from renowned Roman scholar Clavius. The logical construction of Euclidean elements quickly superceded traditional Chinese notations. The practical orientation of Chinese mathematics further disguised their theoretical achievements.

Term Paper on Chinese Mathematics in Ancient China, Assignment

However, the lack of any discernible influence today should not detract from the great achievements of ancient Chinese mathematics. After all, mathematical principles also underlied the development of more popular Chinese scientific developments, such as gunpowder, principles of paper money and seismographs, which were used to measure earthquakes as early as 1000 AD. It is in these scientific and technological developments that Chinese mathematical principles continue to live.

Works Cited

Martzloff, Jean-Claude. A History of Chinese Mathematics. New York: Springer Verlag, 1997.

Needham, Joseph. Science and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Chinese Mathematics in Ancient China.  (2003, May 25).  Retrieved November 29, 2020, from

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"Chinese Mathematics in Ancient China."  25 May 2003.  Web.  29 November 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Chinese Mathematics in Ancient China."  May 25, 2003.  Accessed November 29, 2020.