China’s long affair with the universe: Part 1 of 2

For thousands of years, Chinese astronomers have studied the stars and planets moving in their endless travels across the night sky.

Oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (1766 – 1122 B.C.) recorded eclipses and as many as 90 novae (exploding stars).

For about two thousand years, the Chinese used the North Star (which remains constant). The Chinese used that star to map the location of every other star in the sky.

This method of mapping stars is called the equatorial system. The West would not use this method to map the heavens for almost two thousand years after the Chinese invented it.

In early 1980s, a tomb was found at Xi Shui Po (西水坡) in Pu Yang, Henan Province. There were some clamshells and bones forming the images of the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger and the Northern Dipper.

It is believed that the tomb belongs to the Neolithic Age, about 6,000 years ago.

Star names relating to the 28 lunar mansions were found on oracle bones dating back to the Wuding Period (about 3,200 years ago). Source: New World Encyclopedia

Continued on September 5, 2013 in China’s long affair with the universe: Part 2

Discover the Shang Dynasty (1766 – 1122 B.C.)


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

2 Responses to China’s long affair with the universe: Part 1 of 2

  1. billie echols says:

    Appreciate that your articles are not long .. don’t like to read long articles, but enjoy learning more about China. Read your wife’s book and want to read one of yours now.

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