Su Song

Su Song (simplified Chinese: 苏颂; traditional Chinese: 蘇頌; pinyin: Sū Sòng; style name: Zirong 子容) (1020–1101 AD) was a renowned Chinese polymath who specialized himself as a statesman, astronomer, cartographer, horologist, pharmacologist, mineralogist, zoologist, botanist, mechanical and architectural engineer, poet, antiquarian, and ambassador of the Song Dynasty (960–1279).

Su Song was the engineer of a water-driven astronomical clock tower in medieval Kaifeng, which employed the use of an early escapement mechanism. The escapement mechanism of Su's clock tower had previously been invented by Buddhist monk Yi Xing and government official Liang Lingzan in 725 AD to operate a water-powered armillary sphere, although Su's armillary sphere was the first to be provided with a mechanical clock drive. Su's clock tower also featured the oldest known endless power-transmitting chain drive, called the tian ti (天梯), or "celestial ladder", as depicted in his horological treatise. The clock tower had 133 different clock jacks to indicate and sound the hours. Su Song's treatise about the clock tower, Xinyi Xiangfayao (新 儀 . 象 法 要), has survived since its written form in 1092 and official printed publication in 1094. The book has been analyzed by many historians, such as Joseph Needham. However, the clock itself was dismantled by the invading Jurchen army in AD 1127, and although attempts were made to reassemble the clock tower, it was never successfully reinstated. Although the Xinyi Xiangfayao was his best known treatise, the polymath had other works compiled as well. He completed a large celestial atlas of several star maps, several terrestrial maps, as well as a treatise on pharmacology. The latter discussed related subjects on mineralogy, zoology, botany, and metallurgy.

Although later European Jesuit travelers to China such as Matteo Ricci and Nicolas Trigault would briefly mention Chinese clocks with wheel drives in their writing, early European visitors to China mistakenly believed that the Chinese had never advanced beyond the stage of the clepsydra, incense clock, and sundial. They believed that advanced mechanical clockworks were new to China, and were something valuable which Europe could offer. Although not as prominent as in the Song period, contemporary Chinese texts of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) describe a relatively unbroken history of designs of mechanical clocks in China from the 13th to the 16th century.

Read more about Su SongSu Song's Escapement Mechanism, The Endless Chain Drive, Su Song's Armillary Sphere, Transmission of Su's Text and His Legacy

Other articles related to "su song, su":

History Of Timekeeping Devices - Early Timekeeping Devices - AD 1 – AD 1500 - Clocks With Gears and Escapements
... clock, the elaborate Cosmic Engine, was built by Su Song, in 1088 ... As a result, Su Song's son Su Xie was ordered to build a replica ... The clock towers built by Zhang Sixun and Su Song, in the 10th and 11th centuries, respectively, also incorporated a striking clock mechanism, the use of clock jacks to sound ...
Song Dynasty - Technology, Science, and Engineering - Polymaths, Inventions, and Astronomy
... Chinese inventions Polymath figures such as the statesmen Shen Kuo and Su Song (1020–1101) embodied advancements in all fields of study, including biology, botany ... Su Song was best known for his horology treatise written in 1092, which described and illustrated in great detail his hydraulic-powered, 12 metres (39 ft) tall astronomical ... In addition, Su Song's clock tower featured the world's first endless power-transmitting chain drive, an essential mechanical device found in many practical uses throughout the ages ...
Chinese Astronomy - Equipment and Innovation - The Water-powered Armillary Sphere and Celestial Globe Tower (水運儀象台)
... Started by Su Song (蘇頌) and his colleagues in 1086 AD and finished in 1092 AD, his large astronomical clock tower featured an armillary sphere (渾儀), a celestial globe ... never successfully reinstated, not even by Su Song's son ... Fortunately, two versions of Su Song's treatise written on his clock tower have survived the ages, so that studying his astronomical clock tower is made possible through medieval texts ...
Su Song - Transmission of Su's Text and His Legacy
... When Su Song's Xinyi Xiangfayao was written in 1092 and the horological monograph finalized and presented in 1094, his work was published and widely printed in the north (see woodblock printing and movable type ... his clocktower design to the Emperor Zhezong, Su Song equated the constant flow of water with the continuous movements of the heavens, the latter of which symbolized the unceasing power of the emperor ... Dynasty scholar Qian Zeng (1629–1699) held an old volume of Su's work, which he faithfully reproduced in a newly-printed edition ...
Zhang Sixun - Life and Works
... clock was much like that of the later statesman Su Song (1020-1101 AD), incorporating the scoop-bearing driving-wheel and gearing, together with 19 clock jacks to report and sound the hours ... The later Su Song wrote that after Zhang's death, no one could replicate what he had achieved, much like with Su Song himself and his astronomical clock tower after his own death ...

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