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Investigation of Versions of Suanxue Qimeng (Introduction to Mathematical Studies)

Feng Lisheng, Li Di (Huhhot, China)

The Suanxue qimeng (Introduction to Mathematical Studies), the Chinese mathematical book by Zhu Shijie, a famous mathematician of the Yuan Dynasty, was first published in 1299 in China, and was probably reprinted in the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. The book was lost in the early Ming Dynasty, and was found again in China and reprinted only in late 1830s. It does not seem to have had any impact on the development of mathematics in Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty, but had a great influence on the development of mathematics in Korea and Japan in same period. It was first printed in early 15th century in Korea, where it became a textbook for studying mathematics. The book was republished in 1660 in Korea, and was reprinted several times in 18th century. It was recovered in China thanks to a Korean editon of 18th century. Moreover, its introduction to Japan in the late 16th century, where it was first published in 1658, and reprinted and commented upon many times. The versions were widespread among the Japanese mathematicians in Edo period. In this paper, the authors make an in-depth investigation on versions of Suanxue qimeng in the following aspects: (1) History of diffusion of the book (2) Basic situation of the extant versions (3) Comparisons of the different versions.

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