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"Living with the Gods" - Neil MacGregor
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david gregg
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Re: "Living with the Gods" - Neil MacGregor
Nov 23, 2017, 17:02
Hello and thanks. Yes, metrics are intriguing. There are clear relationships between many. However for fun I always mention the Chinese units. The Shang bu was 1.005 m. The Zhou had a chi of 0.199 m later so 5 chi was 0.995 m and the bu was 6 / 5 m and so on. In modern times the British at Hong Kong standardised the local foot or chek as 14 and 5 / 8 inches or 14.625. However the Egyptian base building unit was the remen of 14.58 inches. Ironically when China metrified they defined the chi as 0.3333 m or 13.12 inches. This is very close to 2 ancient Shang chi of 13.18 inches but also to the Indus Valley foot of 13.1 - 13.2 inches and the Babylonian foot of 13 inches. Coincidence? Maybe, but 'idea stimulus diffusion' and trade may explain some ancient links. Myself, I suspect that some metrics were related simply because several cultures used scaled down geodetic measures...but that is a long and disputed story.
Prof. Dave Gregg

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