Max Guests: 2
Bed Size: 2 Twin Beds
Understanding the workings of the ancient Chinese calculating equipment turns an arduous task into a comfortable pleasure in this room, which features an antique abacus discovered in the small business of a local village deep in the mountains, and a diagram that explains its use for addition, subtraction and multiplication. Several shops in Ping An still own an abacus, but the ancient calculator is rarely used in China anymore, except for the occasional traditional herbal pharmacy. A generation ago, all kids carried an abacus to school for their math classes. These days, sadly, most young people don’t even know what an abacus is. All too often, these cultural elements gradually disappear from under our very eyes. In Chinese, “abacus” means, “bead calculation.” Chinese archeologists discovered earth-made beads, dating back to 5000 years ago in the West Zhou area, likely used for keeping track of calculations while trading. The use of beads evolved into the widely used abacus by the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE). The tool became the ubiquitous means of calculating numbers by the Ming Dynasty (1368) up until quite recently. The great astronomer, inventor and mathematician Zu Chongzhi in the year 480 calculated the numerical value of PI (Tsu Ch’ung Tzi) to its most accurate approximation for the next 900 years. How was Zu able to calculate so many numbers in those very early times? Through an early version of the abacus, of course.