We are at the Center of the World : Conception of “Centrality” in Pre-Modern Geography
Authors: Qing Wang (Beijing Normal University, China)
Speakers: Qing Wang
Strand: Language and Spatiotemporal Frames
Session Type: General Session
There has been a dispute between Chinese astronomers and Buddhists that whether China or India is the center of the world more than 1400 years ago. Both China and India have been claiming to be the center of the world. The shadow cast by the sun at noon on Summer Solstice Day defeats China as the center of the world. That method of testifying the center of the world is of foreign origin, quite different from the traditional Chinese standard. Two other competing claims to be the center of the earth in Chinese domain seem to be of Indian origin and Greek origin. The conception of Centrality is prevalent in quite many ancient civilizations and it is also illustrated in world maps. Centrality could demarcate central us from others in borders, and it would justify the supremacy of ourselves over others in the periphery.
Borchmeyer, Dieter. 2018. Lectures of “Was ist Deutch?” in Beijing Normal University.
Cole, Susan G. 2010. ‘I Know the Number of the Sand and the Measure of the Sea’: Geography and Difference in the Early Greek World, in Geography and Ethnography: Perceptions of the World in Pre-Modern Societies. Edited by Kurt A. Raaflaub and Richard J. A. Talbert. Wiley-Blackwell.
Dao Xuan. 2000. Geography of Sakya-Land. Zhonghua Book Company.
Guan, Zeng-jian. 2000. The Conception of “Center of the Earth” in the History of Chinese Astronomy. Studies on the History of Natural Science, Vol. 19 (3).
Hui, Jiao. 1997. The Bibliography of Great Buddhist Monks. Zhong-Hua Book Company.
Huang, Shi-jian & Gong Ying-yan. 2004. A Study on Matteo Ricci’s World Maps. Shanghai Classical Works Press.
Irby, Georgia, L. 2012. “Mapping the World: Greek initiatives from Homer to Eratosthenes”, in Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Edited by Richard J. A. Talbert. The University of Chicago Press.
Loewe, Michael. 2010. Knowledge of Other Cultures in China’s Early Empires, in Geography and Ethnography: Perceptions of the World in Pre-Modern Societies. Edited by Kurt A. Raaflaub and Richard J. A. Talbert. Wiley-Blackwell.
Meng, Wen-tong. 1987. On the Writing Time and Origin of Shan-Hai-Jing, in Collected Works of Meng Wen-tong. Ba-Shu Press.
Rao Zong-yi. 1993. Collection of Sanskrit Studies. Shanghai Classical Works Press.
Ricci, Mathew. 1953. China in the Sixteenth Century: the Journals of Mathew Ricci. Translated from the Latin by Louis J. Gallagher. New York: Random House.
Keywords: Center of the World, Buddhism, Centrality