Item description for The Chinese Sky During the Han: Constellating Stars and Society (Sinica Leidensia, V. 38) by Jacob Kistemaker & Sun Xiaochun...
A reconstruction of the Chinese sky of two thousand years ago, based on analysis of the first star catalogue in China and other sources. Presented in six well-sized star maps for 100 BC, it is especially important for the history of astronomy. The Han sky, with five times more constellations than Ptolemy knew, reflects diverse human activities. The way in which constellations were grouped discloses a systematic cosmology, uniting universe and the state. The work of the three Han schools is comparable to Ptolemy's Almagest. With three detailed Appendices on the constellations of the three schools, well illustrated to demonstrate the relation between sky and human society, this book is valuable not only for astronomy historians and sinologists, but in general for scholars interested in the ancient cultures of Asia.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Chinese Sky During the Han: Constellating Stars and Society (Sinica Leidensia, V. 38)?
Presentation matters Aug 16, 2001
While I am in no position to evaluate the accuracy of the content of the book, I will offer a few remarks on the presentation of that information. Brill is a noted publisher of academic books, and the work in question is clearly aimed at an audience of scholars and academic libraries (note the list price!). However, the book fails miserably to adhere to basic standards of academic writing. For example, the format of most footnotes is irregular, and not in accord with standard Sinological practice. Should a reader wish to cross reference a claim made by the authors using the notes provided, the original source would be difficult to locate. Furthermore, the text would have benefitted from the hand of a skilled copy editor. For example, three of four references to the Han astronomer Luoxia Hong in the work consist of virutally identical sentences! One would expect more from Brill, and at the cost , one should demand better. Thus, while the information in the text may be accurate and important, the presentation of the material calls serious doubt to the entire enterprise.
A Marvelous Read Jan 5, 1999
Whether you know nothing or know a lot about Chinese astronomy, you can feel confident in buying this book because it is simply EXCELLENT.
This is good for even non-Astronomists! Jul 25, 1998
This is the first book on this subject so far that hasn't gotten too technical and hung up on mathematics. Although, there is that as well. The part I like best is the way the star maps correlate modern recognizable constellations to the Chinese ones. I was able to find two of the Lunar Lodges this way!