- 发布时间：2019-05-07 14:42
- 发布时间：2019-05-07 14:42
351st article 第351期原创双语推文
It is an age-old dream of starry sky exploration. In thousands of years ago, an excellent star observation place was recognized by ancient Chinese people, that is, Astronomical Observatory in Dengfeng, Zhengzhou.
The Astronomical Observatory Scenic Spot is located in Gaocheng Town, Dengfeng, Zhengzhou. The town, which was once the city of Yangcheng in ancient time, is beside Ying River, bordered by the SongShan Mountain in the north and Qishan Mountain in the south. The observatory is divided into seven sections of the front and back yards including Screen Wall, Mountain Gate, Tassel Door, Shadow-measuring Platform of Lord Zhou, Grand Temple, Astronomical Observatory and Zhongsi Temple, with replicas of over ten kinds of astronomical instruments. The Shadow-measuring Platform of Lord Zhou and the observatory are the oldest astronomical architectures extant in China.
It is recorded that there was a “Shadow-measuring Platform of Lord Zhou” in the observatory scenic spot where, by measuring the length of shadow cast by the sun, Chou Kung found the center of earth - Yangcheng, which is the present Gaocheng, and defined “the Spring Equinox”, “the Summer Solstice”, “the Autumnal Equinox” and “the Winter Solstice” of “The Center of Heaven and Earth”.
The Shadow-measuring Platform of Lord Zhou, made of blue stones, consists of two parts. The pedestal, working as a dial, is shaped as a trapezoidal cone with four sides in different lengths, narrow in the top and large at the bottom. And the column named as a gnomon has a tabling covering on the top and words of “Shadow-measuring Platform of Lord Zhou” carved on the south side. Many astronomers and calendarists, such as Seng Yixing (Zhang Sui) and Nangong Yue, carried out astronomical activities here in history.
Yuan dynasty observatory, which was 20 meters away from the Shadow-measuring Platform of Lord Zhou, was the center station of the 27 astronomical observatories throughout the country set up for astronomical and geodetic surveying. The observatory, one of the most famous astronomical architectures in the world, was built by Guo Shoujing, an astronomer in Yuan dynasty, in the 13th year of Zhiyuan Period of Yuan Dynasty (BC 1276). Through “measuring the sun shadow in the daytime and observing stars in the night”, Guo Shoujing finished Shoushi Calendar, the most advanced calendar in the world at that time. This book corrected the algorithm of twenty-four solar terms with only a 26-second deviation in a year comparing to the current one formed 300 years later.
The observatory is the earliest and well-preserved observatory extant in China and one the oldest astronomy architectures in the world. It was selected as one of the first-batch of China’s Key Preservation site of Cultural Relics by the State Council on March 4, 1961, and one of the eight scenic spots in Songshan Scenic Spot as well. It is a high building built with blue masonry and consists of a platform body and a stone gnomon (or heaven measuring ruler). The platform body looks like an inverted funnel and is used for “measuring the shadow cast in the daytime, observing the stars in the night and telling the directions”. The observatory not only preserves the sundial (or material object) used in ancient time for shadow measurement, but also stands for the peak of the measuring technique since the Chou Kung time, showing the remarkable achievement of Chinese astronomical science and owing high value in both astronomical and architecture histories in the world.
The Astronomical Observatory with Shadow-measuring Platform of Lord Zhou, one of the most remarkable achievements in the astronomical history in the world, is a strong proof of Songshan Mountain being “The Center of Heaven and Earth”. Many foreign experts are amazed by their explorations and think it is a rare and well-preserved scientific material object (relic) in the world.
The Twenty-Four Solar Terms applied by China was put on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO on November 30, 2016. The Twenty-Four Solar Terms, a cognition system of time, is honored as “the fifth great invention of China” in the international meteorological community.
As the birthplace of “the Twenty-Four Solar Terms”, Shadow-measuring Platform of Lord Zhou and the Astronomical Observatory in Yuan dynasty played an important role in applying for the world heritage during the three years. Located in the center place of China with four distinct seasons, Dengfeng provided the calendar developed here with an extensive radiation scope. Besides, as the core area of Chinese farming civilization birthplace, there were a lot of people living around Songshan in ancient time, which enabled the calendar to be applicable to a broad crowd in the country. Moreover, to apply for the world heritage, it is an essential material of the Astronomical Observatory for Dengfeng to complete the relevant documents and feature films.
The Astronomical Observatory is not only an important astronomical architecture for calendar measurement, an embodiment of core conception of Historic Monuments in “The Center of Heaven and Earth”, but also the most direct historical relic proof of the Twenty-Four Solar Terms and important carrier for the World Intangible Cultural Heritage.
On May 8, 2019, Dengfeng Astronomical Observatory will witness the grand opening of the Torch Ceremony and Internet Torch Relay Launching Ceremony of the 11th National Traditional Games of Ethnic Minorities of PRC. Let’s join the party to feel the time-honored profound culture of Zhengzhou as the capital of Shang dynasty as well as her updated charm featuring unique style, happiness and vitality.