top of page

Brush Talks from Dream Brook

Author: Shen Kuo

Translators: Wang Hong, Zhao Zheng

ISBN: 9781844641734

Ebook ISBN: 9781844643578

Paperback - 530 pages

Nov 30, 2011

English £80 $125 €95

Click Here To Buy



This is the first complete English language version of Shen Kuo’s seminal Brush Talks From Dream Brook published outside of China. Highly valued by scholars for its scientific and technological coverage, this encyclopaedic book is probably the most important source text for technological advances and the organization of knowledge in China’s golden age, the Song dynasty (960-1279). Author Shen Kuo is the most famous writer in China’s scientific history. The significance of Brush Talks From Dream Brook been thoroughly researched by scholars such as Fu Daiwie but it has not yet gained the recognition it deserves in Western studies on the history of science and technology. Written between 1086 and 1093 in note style, it covers astronomy, mathematics, geography, physics, biology, medicine, military, literary, history, archaeology and music. Now translated into English and available outside of China for the very first time, it’s rightly recognised as a masterpiece in the history of Chinese scientific and technological development.



Translator’s Preface; Author’s Preface; Section One, Stories (1); Section Two, Stories (2); Section Three, Philological Criticism (1); Section Four, Philological Criticism (2); Section Five, Musical Temperament (1); Section Six, Musical Temperament (2); Section Seven, Chinese Numerology (1); Section Eight, Chinese Numerology (2); Section Nine, Human Affairs (1); Section Ten, Human Affairs (2); Section Eleven, Administrative Affairs (1); Section Twelve, Administrative Affairs (2); Section Thirteen, Wisdom in Emergencies; Section Fourteen, Literature and Language (1); Section Fifteen, Language and Literature (2); Section Sixteen, Language and Literature (3); Section Seventeen, Calligraphy and Painting; Section Eighteen, Crafts; Section Nineteen, Artifacts and Implements; Section Twenty, Divine Marvels; Section Twenty-One, Strange Occurrences; Section Twenty-Two, Errors; Section Twenty-Three, Wit and Satire; Section Twenty-Four, Miscellanies (1); Section Twenty-Five, Miscellanies (2); Section Twenty-Six, Traditional Chinese Medicine; A Supplement to Brush Talks from Dream Brook Section One: Stories, Philological Criticism, Musical Temperament, Section Two: Chinese Numerology, Administrative Affairs, Wisdom in Emergencies, Literature and Language, Artifacts and Implements, Section Three: Strange Occurrences, Miscellanies, Traditional Chinese Medicine, The Continuation of Brush Talks from Dream Brook.


About the Authors:

Shen Kuo is a famous scientist and politician in Northern Song Dynasty of China. He studied astronomy and advocated a new calendar alike to the current calendar. In terms of physics, he recorded the principle of compass and various methods of making it. Shen Kuo discovered the existence of geomagnetism deflection, which was 400 years earlier than that of Europe, as well researching the imaging principle of concave mirror and the resonance discipline. In mathematics, he established ‘Interval Accumulating Method’ (the sum acquisition method of two-class arithmetical progression) and ‘circle meeting method’ (to obtain the length of arched string and arc as the diameter of the circle and the height of the bow are given). In geognosy, he researched the formation of alluvial plain and the corroding effect of water. The word ‘petroleum’ in Chinese was firstly put forward by Shen Kuo and still used today. In medicine, he recorded a great number of important medicine books as well as some effective prescriptions. Besides, he settled down many situations relating to scientific development and technology at that time, such as the invention of type printing and the method of metal smelting

bottom of page