This project has two distinct but interlocking elements: The first starts from the general context of cultural communication between China and the West. "Euclid's Elements in the West and China" elucidates the historical significance of research on Jihe Yuanben (几何原本) by undertaking a careful examination of the different editions of Jihe Yuanben, exploring the terminology used in translating from Latin to classical Chinese, the project will show how Matteo Ricci (利玛窦) and Xu Guangqi (徐光启) reconstructed the reductive and axiomatic system of geometry and confirm the significant role played by the Jihe Yuanben in the history of cultural communication between China and the West.
The second part of the project, "Communication and Transmission of Mathematical Knowledge along the Silk Road" explores the transmission of knowledge of mathematics along the silk road by comparing the cultural characteristics and social functions of mathematics among ancient Chinese, Indian and Muslim peoples. It then moves on to analyze the important role of oriental mathematics in promoting the algorithm and arithmetic in medieval Europe mathematics, especially by focusing on Fibonacci’s Liber Abaci. I hope, in the course of the project, to clarify the origins of mathematical problems and algorithms which are common to medieval Europe and Ancient China, thereby making significant contributions to historical scholarship on the transmission of mathematics between West and China.