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Extra info for Early Chinese texts: a bibliographical guide
The Chiu chang suan shu was printed with the commentaries of Liu Hui and Li Ch’un-feng and the appendix of Li Chi. No examples of this printing are extant, and we owe the preservation of the text to a reprint made by Pao Huan-chih 鮑澣之 in 1213. According to his postface the study of the Chiu chang suan shu had ceased almost completely after the collapse of the Northern Sung dynasty in 1126. Not only were there very few scholars interested in such subjects, but the only available texts lacked the essential commentaries of Liu and Li, and bore attributions to the Yellow Emperor.
The handling of both positive cheng 正 and negative fu 負 numbers is described. (i) Kou ku 句股 (‘base and altitude’); this section deals with applications of Pythagoras’ theorem. Some of the later problems involve what is in effect the solution of quadratic equations. d. (Mahavira of Mysore). The Chiu chang suan shu is the world’s earliest extant comprehensive arithmetical textbook. Although its problems are all stated in the context of supposedly practical situations, it is far more than an official’s handbook for reckoning and gauging, and its unknown author was clearly interested in mathematical theory for its own sake.
D. 281. c. One must distinguish between an original text or texts, now perhaps partly lost; the ‘Current Text’ (Chin pen 今本) in 2 chüan, which may be in large part original; and collections of quoted fragments called the ‘Old Text’ (Ku pen 古本), on the assumption that they are remnants of the supposedly otherwise wholly lost original text. g. by Ch’ien Ta-hsin 錢大昕 (1728–1804) and Shinjō Shinzō 新城新藏 (1873–1938) to be of Ming date. Wang Kuowei 王國維 (1877–1927) is especially well-known for research which supports this view.