Wang Xiaotong on Right Triangles: Six Problems from ‘Continuation of Ancient Mathematics’ (Seventh Century AD)

Tina Su-Lyn Lim, Donald B. Wagner


Wang Xiaotong’s 王孝通 Jigu suanjing 緝古算經 is primarily concerned with problems in solid and plane geometry leading to polynomial equa­tions which are to be solved numerically using a procedure similar to Horner’s Method. We translate and analyze here six problems in plane geometry. In each case the solution is derived using a dissection of a 3-dimensional object. We suggest an interpretation of one fragmentary comment which at first sight appears to refer to a dissection of a 4-dimensional object.

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