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2. Geometrical diagrams in traditional chinese mathematics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a preliminary discussion of geometrical diagrams found in Chinese mathematical treatises that may provide useful insights concerning the perception of geometrical figures in traditional Chinese mathematics. The author's cursory investigation into the tradition of diagrammatic representations in early traditional Chinese mathematics suggests that the earliest known diagrams of the early first millennium AD, those referred to by Liu Hui, were mainly focused on "depicting the structure"; more specifically they were focused on the representation of the general patterns of the transformations of the objects rather than the structure of the objects themselves. The resulting diagrams could be called "conceptual diagrams" and their main function was to provide descriptions of the geometrical transformations to be performed in order to justify mathematical algorithms.

Keywords: Chinese mathematical treatises; early first millennium AD; geometrical figures; Liu Hui; mathematical algorithms



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