In China, a unit of length used to measure land during the Qing Dynasty, = 5 chi, about 1.588 meters (62.5 inches). Abolished in 1915. In the pre-Qin period, it was a unit of land area = 1 bu. Since another meaning of the character is “bow”, perhaps this was the length of a longbow. The word also meant the wooden instrument used to measure land.
Not to be confused with gōng 公 That gong may be translated “official,” “common” or “public,” or applied to a unit, “metric.”
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Last revised: 22 February 2016.