A reprint of a classical work in the Cambridge Library Collection.
Descended from French Protestants who had emigrated to Geneva, Léopold de Saussure (1866–1925) began his career in the French navy. Before retiring with the rank of lieutenant in 1899, he had learned Chinese and how to accurately observe the stars. The study of ancient Chinese astronomy then became the focus of his scholarly energies, and he made a number of significant contributions. Posthumously published in 1930, Les Origines de l'Astronomie Chinoise gathers together eleven of the twelve articles that originally appeared in the journal T'oung Pao between 1907 and 1922. In his preface, the French orientalist Gabriel Ferrand (1864–1935) quotes a letter, written by Saussure a month before his death, noting a shift of opinion: he now believed China had been influenced by the Middle East rather than vice versa. Irrespective of the question of priority, Saussure's work here reveals the depth of his understanding of the Chinese system.
Le texte astronomique du Yao-Tien
1. L'origine des 'sieou'
2. Les cinq palais célestes
3. La série quinaire et ses dérivés
4. La série des douze 'tche'
5. Le cycle des douze animaux
6. La règle des 'cho-t'i'
7. Le cycle de Jupiter
8. Le cycle de Jupiter (suite)
9. Les anciennes étoiles polaires
10. Le zodiaque lunaire
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