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Book/Printed Material Ji he yuan ben : Liu juan 幾何原本 : 六卷

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[ Volume 2 ]
[ Volume 3 ]
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About this Item


  • Ji he yuan ben : Liu juan

Other Title

  • 幾何原本 : 六卷

Translated Title

  • Euclid's "Elements:" Six Juan


  • Ji he yuan ben (Euclid's Elements) is a version of the work by Greek mathematician Euclid (circa 323-circa 285 BC). Presented here is the earliest Chinese translation, done by Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) together with Xu Guangqi. Xu Guangqi (1562-1633), name Zixian, style name Xuanhu, was born in Shanghai. He received his jin shi degree in the 32nd year (1604) of the Wanli reign of Ming and was a vice minister of the Ministry of Rites and a grand secretary of the Wenyuange Imperial Library. He learned astronomy from Ricci, studied agriculture, recommended the reform of the calendar, and wrote Nong zheng quan shu (Complete book on agricultural administration). In 1606 Xu Guangqi recorded Ji he yuan ben, as dictated by Ricci. They used as the basis for their work the 15-volume Latin-language edition of Euclid's Elements, revised and supplemented by Christopher Clavius (1538-1612), of which they succeeded in translating the first six volumes. The Ricci- Xu Guangqi translation brought into China for the first time Euclid's geometry, with its strict logical system and methodology of reasoning. From this translation, the Chinese words for geometry and geometrical terms such as point, line, parallel line, triangle, and square were adopted and are still used today. These terms have also spread to usage in Japan, Korea, and other countries. This is an important work for Chinese scholars studying learning from the West during the Ming and Qing dynasties.


  • Clavius, Christoph, 1538-1612 Contributor
  • Euclid Author
  • Ricci, Matteo, 1552-1610 Translator
  • Xu, Guangqi, 1562-1633 Translator

Created / Published

  • [Place of publication not identified] : [Publisher not identified], 1606.


  • -  China
  • -  Greece
  • -  300 B.C
  • -  Chinese literature
  • -  Euclid
  • -  Geometry
  • -  Mathematics, Greek


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 4 volumes ; 24.9 x 16.3 centimters.
  • -  Original resource at: National Library of China.
  • -  Content in Chinese.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.
  • -  Title revised per Asian Division.--cc28 2023-01-06


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666487

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Clavius, Christoph, Contributor, Euclid Author, Matteo Ricci, and Guangqi Xu. Ji he yuan ben: Liu juan. [Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified, 1606] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Clavius, C., Euclid Author, Ricci, M. & Xu, G. (1606) Ji he yuan ben: Liu juan. [Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Clavius, Christoph, Contributor, et al. Ji he yuan ben: Liu juan. [Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified, 1606] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.