Tsinghua University News

World’s Oldest Decimal Multiplication Table Awarded by Guinness World Record

The Suanbiao in Tsinghua Bamboo Slips:the World’s Oldest Decimal Multiplication Table Awarded by Guinness World Record


The Suanbiao, a bamboo-slip manuscript of twenty-one bamboo slips in the Tsinghua collection, is a decimal multiplication table for numbers up to 99.5 when it is reconstructed in the correct order. It was awarded the Guinness World Record for “the oldest decimal multiplication table” in the world on April 23, 2017.

“The Suanbiao filled a historical gap for mathematical documents in the Pre-Qin period”, said Guo Shuchun, Director of the Chinese Society of the History of Mathematics.

The Tsinghua University collection of bamboo-slip manuscripts, is a famous collection of Chinese texts with brush-written graphs on bamboo slips, dating all the way back to the Warring States period (ca. 350BCE).

The bamboo-slip manuscripts are very important for understanding the context of the inception and development of Chinese civilization, the study of shape and structure of bamboo slips and the Chinese ancient characters.

By Alexis See Tho