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Shuihudi bamboo strips of the Qin Dynasty and mathematics in Pre-Qin Period

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image of Frontiers of History in China

The Qin laws kept on the bamboo slips unearthed from Tomb No. 11 of the Qin Dynasty at Shuihudi in Yunmeng County have great value for the study on the history of mathematics in Pre-Qin China. Many law texts recorded the severe requirements of the Qin State in the administration concerning accounting and statistics, the conversion rates between various types of foodstuffs and the proportional allotment of foodstuffs, as well as the plans and practices of engineering projets, etc. Comparative studies on the relationships between these severe Laws and the relevant methematical methords of Jiuzhang suanshu lead to such conclusions as: 1) the Qin laws were based upon the foundation of highly developed mathematics; 2) many mathematical methods of Jiuzhang suanshu were produced before the Qin Dynasty; 3) The influence of Legalists on mathematics mostly took place in the Pre-Qin Period or the Qin Dynasty.


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