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around 305 BCE

Bamboo-Strip Multiplication Table

Oldest known decimal multiplication table

This set of 21 bamboo strips, dated to around 305 BCE, constitutes a multiplication table written in ancient Chinese calligraphy. While much earlier Babylonian multiplication tables using base-60 cuneiform numerals survive, the Chinese table uses base-10 numerals, making it by far the world's oldest known decimal multiplication table.

Bamboo-Strip Multiplication Table

Artifact format

Each strip is 7–12 mm wide and up to 0.5 m long

Original artifact location

China, Warring States period (historical name), China (current name)

Current artifact location

China

Timeline

Counting timeline Sumerian Earliest Known Math Table Sumerian 7 Quotient and 10 Product Tablet Babylonian School Multiplication Tablet Babylonian Reciprocals Tablet Rhind Papyrus Roman Stylus Tablet Bamboo-Strip Multiplication Table Venerable Bede's De temporum ratione South American Quipu Aztec Dates from Codex Mendoza Midewiwin Birchbark Scroll

Interactive Content

Computational Explanation

Other Resources