[OT] Legacy encodings (was: Re: Chinese rod numerals)

From: Christopher Cullen (c.cullen@nri.org.uk)
Date: Sat Jan 10 2004 - 15:15:29 EST

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    Sorry - actually my mail client (Mac Mail for OS X Panther) gives me a
    choice of encodings, but I just did not remember to select Unicode, as
    would I agree have been more respectful of the context. Here it is

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: Christopher Cullen <c.cullen@nri.org.uk>
    Date: 10 January 2004 18:06:31 GMT
    To: Elliotte Rusty Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>
    Cc: Unicode list <unicode@unicode.org>
    Subject: Re: Chinese rod numerals

    The earliest statement on this point is that of Liu Hui 劉徽 around AD
    263, who says:


    (Jiu zhang suan shu, chapter 8 p. 175 in Guo & Liu (eds) Suan jing shi
    shu, Taibei 2001.)

    Which means that the positive rods are red and the negative black, but
    adds that when this is not the case (presumably because one does not
    have coloured rods) "one makes a difference by means of the inclined
    and straight". No further explanation is given in Liu Hui's text, but
    In later practice (as evidenced in the 13th C.) this appears to have
    meant that one set out the number as usual, but with an extra rod laid
    diagonally across the right-hand numeral of a given number. I do not
    recall having heard of any excavated sets of counting-rods showing
    signs of having been coloured, but I have not checked this.

    For completeness, perhaps one should also ask for the encoding of a set
    of "diagonally cancelled" rod numerals so that the second style for
    negative numbers could be represented.

    Christopher Cullen

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