World's largest abacus museum in Nantong showcases ancient mathematical culture

Updated: May 27, 2024 By CANG WEI chinadaily.com.cn Print
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Abacus displays in the Chinese Abacus Museum in Nantong, Jiangsu province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The China Nantong Abacus Museum in Nantong, Jiangsu province, is now the world's largest museum dedicated to the ancient calculators.

Established in 2004, the museum is situated in a nationally recognized tourist spot. It houses over 4,000 volumes of abacus-related books and classics, including rare editions that provide visitors with unique insight.

Visitors can explore the device's history, including its origins, mentions in ancient Chinese texts, globally renowned abacus masters, the spread of Chinese abacus techniques to other regions, and why skilled calculators are called "iron abacuses".

The museum displays a range of historical abacuses, such as the world's smallest, an ivory micro-carved abacus depicting ancient myths and stories, and various other unique designs, such as octagonal and wristwatch abacuses.

"The Chinese Abacus Museum serves as an encyclopedia of the abacus and a window into exploring the beauty of mathematics," said Wang Haiming, the museum's director. "It not only explains a method of numerical computation but also presents a mathematical culture spanning thousands of years."

Guo Jun in Nanjing contributed to the story.

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