Culture and Science
Quite a few thinkers with rudimentary democratic ideology and
materialist trends of thought emerged in the early Qing Dynasty, the most famous being Gu
Yanwu, Huang Zongxi and Wang Fuzhi. Social and economic progress and the introduction of
Western scientific and technological knowledge also helped promote the development of the
natural sciences in China, notably astronomy, calendrical systems and mathematics, in
which outstanding achievements were made. New Methods of Xiao'en by astronomer Wang Xichan
improved upon certain methods of calculation in astronomy, and mathematician Ming Antu was
the first to study by analytic methods. Famous works by
outstanding novelists and dramatists such as Strange Tales from Liaozhai, The Scholars, A
Dream of Red Mansions and Peach-Blossom Fan are still being avidly read today. In the fine
arts, diverse schools of painting appeared and with it a large number of celebrated
painters. The handicraft industry turned out numerous superb and colorful works.
Voluminous encyclopedic works such as the Encyclopedia of Ancient and Modern Books,
Complete Library in Four Divisions and Twenty-Four Dynastic Histories were compiled under
the auspices of the government.