China
units of length

China was first unified under the Qin Dynasty. Its first emperor, Shihuangdi (221 – 210 bce), reformed weights and measures. Notice that the only unit of length not decimally related to adjacent units is the bu, which represents a double pace. The two larger units were unofficial; having been used in previous dynasties they were carried over.

yin

zhang

10

               

bu

1 2/3

16 2/3

             

chi

6

10

100

           

cun

10

60

100

1000

         

fen

10

100

600

1000

10,000

       

li

10

100

1000

6000

10,000

100,000

     

fa

10

100

1000

10,000

60,000

100,000

1,000,000

   

hao

 10

100

1000

10,000

100,000

600,000

1,000,000

10,000,000

                 

By 300 ce the smaller units had been modified.

               

bu

             

chi

6

           

cun

10

60

         

fen

10

100

600

       

li

10

100

1000

6000

     

hao

10

100

1000

10,000

60,000

   

miao

10

100

1000

10,000

100,000

600,000

 

10

100

1000

10,000

100,000

1,000,000

10,000,000

                 
                 
                 

In the Song Dynasty the si replaced the miao; otherwise this system continued unchanged for centuries.

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