Abacus, also called a counting frame, is a calculating tool that was in use centuries before the adoption of the written modern numeral system and is still widely used by merchants, traders and clerks in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. Today, abaci are often constructed as a bamboo frame with beads sliding on wires, but originally they were beans or stones moved in grooves in sand or on tablets of wood, stone, or metal. The user of an abacus is called an abacist.
The Chinese abacus is called Suanpan.There are two beads on each rod in the upper deck and five beads each in the bottom for both decimal and hexadecimal computation. The beads are usually rounded and made of a hardwood. The beads are counted by moving them up or down towards the beam. If you move them toward the beam, you count their value. If you move away, you don't count their value. The suanpan can be reset to the starting position instantly by a quick jerk along the horizontal axis to spin all the beads away from the horizontal beam at the center.
Suanpans can be used for functions other than counting. Unlike the simple counting board used in elementary schools, very efficient suanpan techniques have been developed to do multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, square root and cube root operations at high speed.
I found this Suanpan while I did the clean up for my parents' home today. My father used to work with it as calculator. My father bought this Suanpan in Hong Kong during the year of 1950s.
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drweizy (528) 2014-03-20 19:02
That is a practical abacus. Abacus became the human intangible cultural heritage by UNESC on Dec, 2013, which was used for calculating more than 2,000 years ago in China.
I had used abacus when I was a student in primary school. In recent 10-20 years, it was gradually replaced by calculator or computer. It is rarely seen nowadays, but I think it will be a kind of educational toy or artwork.
pajaran (52952) 2014-03-20 23:51
Vrlo interesantan i dobar tekst o Abacus, sa istorijom i opisom ...
Dobar snimak, ostrina i kontrast, lepo pokazana racunjaljka, lepe boje.
Kod mene deca u skoli koriste racunjaljku da uce matematiku.
Very interesting and good article on the abacus, with a history and description of the ...
Good shot, sharpness and contrast nicely demonstrated racunjaljka, beautiful colors.
When my kids at school used racunjaljku to learn math.
All the best.
jacquest (18809) 2014-03-21 1:52
Thank you for your instructive note on the abacus and the nice display of this one with well rendered colors. I guess I would need an in person lesson to learn exactly how to work one.
lousat (78353) 2014-03-21 2:49
Hi Anna,a very interesting post about this old abacus,a piece of history that remember me a useful game for the childs....ehehe....very good capture with bright colors despite the difficult light,i like it! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano
photographer_sg (4408) 2014-03-21 10:19
Simple but attractive composition with lovely colours and contrast. the details of the abacus brought out really well. thanks for sharing this lovely picture with the excellent note.
Have a nice evening
Miguel82 (24661) 2014-03-21 20:31
Anna, I appreciate that educational report belonging to ancient Chinese culture, one of the first system of calculator and your photo comment is complete about the topic, good saturday
Nicou (124129) 2014-03-22 7:12
sueprbe vue de ce boulier quelle iamge très belle compo tout en bois avec le brillant sueprbe.
Bravo et amitié
Silvio1953 (124525) 2014-03-22 8:34
Ciao Anna, lovely and original idea, wonderful colors, splendid light and fine detail, very well done my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio
eldancer1 (28961) 2014-03-25 8:59
Growing up in the Philippines it used to amazed me watching those Chinese merchants use the abacus, even some of my cousins who were half Chinese knows how to use them. Thanks for the reminder of my young years and thanks for sharing.
serp2000 (40612) 2014-04-15 21:53
Simple but very nice photo, I've got similar "calculator" in my collection of different old things.
I also like the glimpse on the black bones. Good idea and excellent realization! TFS!
Greetings from LA!
kato (11630) 2014-05-07 2:29
You're capturing well this Chinese abacus by a good angle and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see Suanpan with the round beams equipped with calculation. It seems to have the feather two beads in the upper deck and five beads in the bottom. When I am also small, a well similar abacus called "Soroban" has been used. It has one bead in the upper deck and four beads in the bottom. Probably, it is considered to have been derived from Chinese Suanpan, and treats a decimal number.
jmdias (56579) 2014-06-15 15:16
very nice close up in the famous abacus. it is considered the first computer invented. very nice details and colors.