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Abacus and Abacus Calculation

    Abacus

Many centuries ago, the abacus (suàn pán 算盘) evolved independently in many countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and China. Its use is recorded in China as early as 6th century B.C., from where it found its way to Korea and Japan.

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Different styles of abacus were used in different countries, the Chinese version being known as a "Suan Pan”. Use of the abacus in the Western world ceased many years ago but it is still in extensive use in China.

AbacusAn abacus consists of a wooden frame with 13 sticks (some may have less) stretched vertically between the top and bottom, a wooden bar runs horizontally in the frame, two third of the way up the sticks. Two beads are strung on each stick above the horizontal bar and five beads below. The two beads represent five units each and the lower beads, single units of the order represented by the column.

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Golden AbacusWith the application of the abacus, people summarized many abacus rhymes, increasing the calculating speed. By the time of the Ming Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝), people could use the abacus in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, which were widely used in calculating weight, amount, space and volume.

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Since it is simple to make an abacus and cheap to buy one, and it is easy to remember abacus rhymes, simple and convenient to calculate with an abacus, which is called abacus calculation (zhÅ« suàn 珠算) and widely used in China. There are many experts in the use of the abacus in all trades and professions, and some people can use an abacus with two hands at the same time.

Later the abacus gradually spread into Japan, Korea, America, and countries and regions in Southeast Asia. People find that using an abacus can improve thinking and practical abilities in addition to providing convenient calculation. Since it requires cooperation of the mind, eyes and hand, it is a good way to improve the comprehensive reaction ability.learn mandarin china

算盘
Ancient Abacus      算盘,是中国人在长期使用算筹的基础发明的,素有“中国计算机”之美誉。在现代计算机出现之前,它一直是最为方便快捷的计算之器,于开发我炎黄子孙的智力,协助世代商家的经营,功莫大焉。

      主流算盘,皆以木为之。四周作框,中植纵杆若干,名曰“æ¡£”。每档贯木珠七枚,用横木隔为上二下五,横木名曰“梁”。记数时,梁下每珠作一;梁上每珠作五;左档各珠值皆为右档之十倍。除木质框架外,还有用铜、铁等材料为框架者;而算珠亦可由金属、玉石等材料制造而成。

      随着算盘的使用,人们总结出许多计算口诀,使计算的速度更快了。这种用算盘计算的方法,叫珠算。它的四则运算皆有一套口诀来指导,这样大大加快了运算的速度。“珠算”一词,最早见于汉代徐岳编纂的《数术记遗》。但当时的“珠算”与现今通行的珠算是不同的。珠算的普及和筹算的彻底淘汰这一过程是在明代完成的。现存最早载有算盘图的书是明洪武四年(1371å¹´)新刻的《魁本对相四言杂字》,而影响最大、流传最广的当属程大位的《直指算法统宗》。到了明代,珠算不但能进行加减乘除的运算,还能计算土地面积和各种形状东西的大小。
 

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