Chinese rod numerals

From: Christopher Cullen (
Date: Sat Jan 10 2004 - 07:23:06 EST

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    I am an academic with research interests in the history of ancient
    Chinese mathematics, and I should like to propose the encoding of
    traditional Chinese rod numerals.

    These represent the arrays of "counting rods" on a counting board as
    used in China for complex calculations before the invention of the
    abacus. There are eighteen forms in all, representing the numerals one
    to nine in two forms which are basically versions of each other with a
    90 degrees rotation. One form is used for units, the the other for
    tens, then back to the first form for hundreds, and so on. A zero is
    represented by a gap in the array. For pictures of these and an
    explanatory text, see:

    These forms appear in pre-modern mathematical books in China, and in
    modern books discussing ancient mathematics. They are not to be
    confused with the the related "Hangzhou numerals", which are already
    encoded at 3021-303a. It would be a great convenience to have these
    as a standard resource rather than having to create a special private
    font in order to represent them.

     From a private source, I have been told that these forms are neither in
    any current Unicode encoding initiative, nor indeed anywhere in the
    proposal pipeline. I should therefore be grateful for any comments or
    advice that might guide me towards making a formal submission.

    Christopher Cullen

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