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                Home History and Culture Abacus and Abacus Calculation
                Abacus and Abacus Calculation
                Learn Chinese - History and Culture

                Many centuries ago, the abacus (suàn pán 算盤) 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.

                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.

                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.

                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 (zhū 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.

                Ancient Abacus????? 算盤,是中國人在長期使用算籌的基礎發明的,素有“中國計算機”之美譽。在現代計算機出現之前,它一直是最為方便快捷的計算之器,于開發我炎黃子孫的智力,協助世代商家的經營,功莫大焉。

                ????? 主流算盤,皆以木為之。四周作框,中植縱桿若干,名曰“檔”。每檔貫木珠七枚,用橫木隔為上二下五,橫木名曰“梁”。記數時,梁下每珠作一;梁上每珠作五;左檔各珠值皆為右檔之十倍。除木質框架外,還有用銅、鐵等材料為框架者;而算珠亦可由金屬、玉石等材料制造而成。

                ????? 隨著算盤的使用,人們總結出許多計算口訣,使計算的速度更快了。這種用算盤計算的方法,叫珠算。它的四則運算皆有一套口訣來指導,這樣大大加快了運算的速度。“珠算”一詞,最早見于漢代徐岳編纂的《數術記遺》。但當時的“珠算”與現今通行的珠算是不同的。珠算的普及和籌算的徹底淘汰這一過程是在明代完成的?,F存最早載有算盤圖的書是明洪武四年(1371年)新刻的《魁本對相四言雜字》,而影響最大、流傳最廣的當屬程大位的《直指算法統宗》。到了明代,珠算不但能進行加減乘除的運算,還能計算土地面積和各種形狀東西的大小。


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