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Chinese Abacus

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Chinese Abacus

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Development of Chinese Abacus

The Chinese abacus was coined as the greatest invention ever made in ancient China. The Chinese abacus is properly termed as suanpan. Its development can be traced from the Modern Times starting from circa 1200 A.D. in China. Chinese counting rods are considered to be one of the possible sources of the Chinese abacus.

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Suanpan was first mentioned in the book entitled Supplementary Notes on the Art of Figures authored by Xu Yue. It was a 190 CE book published in the Eastern Han dynasty. Unfortunately, the suanpan’s exact design was not mentioned in the book.

During the Song Dynasty which is from the period of 960-1297, Zhang Zeduan painted the famous long scroll entitled Riverside Scenes at Qingming, there was a vivid image of the abacus that was seen lying beside a doctor’s prescription and an account book.

The suanpan is almost similar in principle to the Roman abacus but physically they have different construction. The fact that there is a similarity between the Roman abacus and Chinese abacus connotes that the Romans could have inspired the Chinese in making the suanpan.

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The Roman abacus is apparently made before the Chinese abacus and there are some evidence that will support that there is a trade relationship between China and the Romans. This could have been the reason of the Romans having influenced on the Chinese abacus.

Next Page: Structure of Chinese Abacus

Next: Atomic Abacus


thanks for the info
Comment posted by: atashia allen on 2010-02-21T21:04:19

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