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4. Song Yingxing's illustrations of iron production

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is intended as an addendum to Peter Golas's contribution, in which he gives a critical and erudite discussion of numerous issues raised by the illustrations in Song Yingxing's Tiangong kaiwu. It considers the description of iron production, and the illustrations in the 1637 edition. If one is to use the Tiangong kaiwu as a source for Ming technologies it will be important to come close to an answer to the question it matters a great deal where the information in Song Yingxing's book comes from. The author takes up three passages in his description of iron production and attempts to show that in these cases: his text is accurate; the illustrations are accurate; but the illustrations do not always show the same technologies as the text. Song Yingxing describes two types of iron ore, dingtie and shatie, literally "lump iron" and "sand iron".

Keywords: iron production; Ming technologies; Song Yingxing; Tiangong kaiwu



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