Attaining Accuracy and Precision of Measuring Containers during the Qin Dynasty

Kin Sum Sammy Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This article explores how Qin Dynasty bureaucrats attained accuracy and precision in producing and designing measuring containers. One of the salient achievements of the Qin empire was the so-called unification of measurement systems. Yet measurement systems and the technological methods employed to achieve accuracy and precision in ancient China have scarcely been explored in English-language scholarship. I will examine the material features of the containers and reconstruct the production methods with which the clay models, molds, and cores of the containers were prepared before casting. I also investigate the inscriptions on the containers to determine whether they were cast or engraved. In so doing, I supply the field of Qin history with additional solid evidence about how accuracy and precision were defined in the Qin empire.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-22
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Chinese History
    Issue number1
    Early online date23 Dec 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • History
    • Cultural Studies

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Qin Dynasty
    • Measuring containers
    • Accuracy
    • Precision
    • Core


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