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Chinese Ancient Star Map Enhanced Edition


HK$ 200
216 pages (full colour)
34 cm x 25 cm
Hard cover

ISBN 962-7054-11-9
Published in 2007

Across the screen the autumn moon stares coldly from the sky;
With silken fan I flick the fireflies sailing by.
The night grows cooler and chills me to the heart;
I watch the Weaving Girl and the Cowherd * far apart.

Du Mu, Autumn Night

Looking up at the night sky, we can see stars scattered everywhere in a disorderly manner. For ease of memory, China and other nations developed their own systematic ways to group stars into constellations. However, in stark contrast to the West, where the starry sky is a pantheon of Greek mythical heroes and creatures, ancient Chinese treated the heavens as a miniature of their secular world, a reflection of their own feudal society.

As an avid stargazer, you must be familiar with the western constellations like Ursa major, Cassiopeia, Orion or Taurus. So, why not treat yourself with a visit to ancient China in the starry sky, where you can saunter along the celestial palace, government offices or markets? You could pay respects to the emperor and princes (luckily, you no longer need to kneel down and "kowtow" to them), discuss politics with the premier and other government stalwarts, or simply go on a buying spree in the celestial market.

Published in 2002, the First Edition of the Chinese Ancient Star Map was well received by both local and overseas readers, and was sold out before long. To the great honour of the Hong Kong Space Museum, the book was presented as a gift of the HKSAR Government to the world-famous physicist Professor Stephen W. Hawking during his visit in 2006. After years of preparation, the Space Museum is proud to announce the Enhanced Edition of Chinese Ancient Star Map. This edition not only introduces Chinese constellations and explores the meanings behind their often cryptic names, but also delves into topics like celestial coordinates systems employed by ancient Chinese to chart their sky. In addition to those Qing star maps in the First Edition which are annotated in both Chinese and English, the Enhanced Edition features the Song star maps recovered from the Star Catalogue of the Huangyou Reign Period dated more than 900 years ago. Chinese Ancient Star Map will without doubt, be your indispensable English star companion to comprehend the Chinese night sky.

* Weaving Girl and Cowherd are the famous stars Vega and Altair respectively. In Chinese mythology, they were tragic lovers separated by the Milky Way and could only meet once a year.