These publications concern Chinese science, technology, history, archaeology, and language.

Donald B. Wagner 华道安
Jernbanegade 9B
DK-3600 Frederikssund
Department of Archaeology
Sichuan University
Chengdu, Sichuan

Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

Books || Articles || Reviews and short notices || Web publications


  • Guide to East, Southeast, and Central Asian library collections in Scandinavia
    Compiled by a group of students at the East Asian Institute, University of Copenhagen. Ed. by Nina Ellinger and DBW. Publ. by the Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen, January 1976. 75 pp.

  • Survey of PRC literature on science and technology.
    Compiled by Erik Baark, Roar Jonsen, and DBW. Publ. by Research Policy Program, University of Lund, and Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen, 1977. 46 pp. (Catalogue of a specialised library collection.)

  • Union catalogue of East Asian materials in Scandinavian libraries: Preliminary Chinese and Japanese title catalogues.
    Zug, Switzerland: Inter Documentation Company, 1981. 98 microfiches.
    Publisher's blurb.

  • Dabieshan: Traditional Chinese iron-production techniques practised in southern Henan in the twentieth century.
    (Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies monograph series, no. 52). London & Malmö: Curzon Press, 1985. 113 pp.
    Publisher's blurb.
      J.-P. Voiret in Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 15 Nov. 1986, p. 39;
      R. E. Clough in Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, 1987, 21.1: 49-50;
      B. Bronson in Archeomaterials,1987,  2.1: 95-99;
      J. Reardon-Anderson in The China quarterly, 1987, no. 110,  pp. 320-321;
      C. A. Ronan in Centaurus,1988,  31: 179-180;
      Torben Kjer in Acta Orientalia (Copenhagen), 1990, 51: 335-336;
      Zenshiro Hara in Kinzoku (Metals), 1991, 61.7: 61-69.
  • Pattern and loom: A practical study of the development of weaving techniques in China, Western Asia, and Europe.
    By John Becker, with the collaboration of Donald B. Wagner. Copenhagen: Rhodos, 1987. 2 vols., 316+80 pp.
    Download edition, 2009.
    2nd edition, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2014.
      Reviewsof the 1987 edition:
      J. P. Wild in Antiquity,1988, 62: 816-818;
      Gabriel Vial & Krishnã Riboud in Arts asiatiques, 1988, 43.1: 181-182;
      Verity Wilson in Oriental art,1989, N.S. 35.2: 110.
      E. J. W. Barber in Archeomaterials, 1990, 4.2:210-212.

      Reviewof the 2009 edition:
      Sandra Whitman in The Silk Road, 2010, 8: 137-138.
  • Toward the reconstruction of ancient Chinese techniques for the production of malleable cast iron
    (East Asian Institute occasional papers, 4). Copenhagen: East Asian Institute, University of Copenhagen, 1989. 72 pp.
    Web copy
      R. B. Gordon in Archeomaterials,1990, 4.2: 216.
  • Oslo University Library: Catalogue of older Chinese books
    (UBO Skrifter, 22). Oslo: University Library, 1992. 78 pp.
    html version || copy oforiginal || supplement

  • Iron and steel in ancient China
    (Handbuch der Orientalistik, IV:9). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1993. 589 pp.
    Publisher's blurb.
      Harald Bøckman in Copenhagen Papers in East and Southeast Asian Studies, 1993, 8: 120-122.
      Lothar von Falkenhausen in Chinese science, 1993/4,11: 103-107;
      Gina L. Barnes in EAANouncements, Summer 1994, pp. 38-39;
      Robert P. Multhauf in Technology and culture, 1994, 35.3: 605-606;
      Jens Østergård Petersen in Acta Orientalia (Copenhagen), 1994, 55: 306-313;
      P. T. Craddock in Antiquity, 1994, 68.261: 886-890;
      Ildikó Ecsedy in Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarium Hungaricae, 1994, 47.3: 466-467;
      Alain Thote in Revue bibliographique de sinologie, 1993/94, 11/12: 184-185;
      L. J. Bilsky in Choice, February 1994.
      C. Cullen in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1995, 58.2: 411-413;
      David L. Hall in Philosophy East and West, 1995,45.1: 136-137;
      E. Bruce Brooks in Isis, 1996, 87.1: 149-150.
      Mary E. Tiles in China review international, 1995, 2.1: 267-268;
      Magdalene von Dewall in Technikgeschichte, 1996,63.2: 155-156;
      Peter Golas in Bulletin de l’École Française d’Extrême-Orient, 1995, 82: 426-428;
      Vincent C. Pigott in Asian perspectives, 1996, 35.1: 89-97.
      Robin D. S. Yates in Journal of Asian studies, 1997, 56.1: 191-193.
      Hans Ulrich Vogel in Centaurus, 1997, 39: 273-284
      Radomír Pleiner in Archives internationales d'histoire des sciences, 1996, 46: 440-444.
  • The traditional Chinese iron industry and its modern fate.
    With a preface by Peter Nolan. Copenhagen & London: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies & Curzon Press, 1997. 128 pp.
    Publisher's blurb. || Web version.
      Robert B. Gordon in Copenhagen journal of Asian studies, 1997, 12: 149-151.
      J. A. Catterall in Asia-Pacific business review, 1998, 4.4: 95.
      Michel Cartier in Revue bibliographique de sinologie, 1998, 16: 518.
      Masud Hossain in Scandinavian economic history review, 1999, 47.2: 97-98.
      Eric Harwit in China review international, 1999, 6.2: 540-541.
      Nora Wang in Revue historique,1999,  301.2: 411.
      Brett Sheehan in China information, 13.4: 152-154.
      Roland Spickermann in Technology and culture, 2000, 41.3: 583-584.
      Francesca Bray in Centaurus, 2000, 42.3: 240-241.
      Peter J. Golas in East Asian science, technology, and medicine, 2000, 17: 134-136.
  • A Classical Chinese reader: The Han shu biography of Huo Guang, with notes and glosses for students.
    Richmond, Sussex: Curzon Press, 1998. 208 pp.
    Web sampler.
      Rune Svarverud in Acta Orientalia,1998,  59: 319-323.
      Naomi Standen in Copenhagen journal of Asian studies, 1998, 13: 86-88.
  • The state and the iron industry in Han China.
    Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 2001. 160 pp.
    Publisher's blurb.
      David Crossley in Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, 2001, 35.2: 106.
      Michael Loewe in East Asian science, technology, and medicine, 2002 (publ. 2003), 19: 125-128.
      J. A. G. Roberts in The historian, 2004, 66.1: 175-176.

  • A Mencius reader: For beginning and advanced students of Classical Chinese.
    Copenhagen: NIAS Press (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies), 2004. 160 pp.
    Publisher's blurb.

  • Science and civilisation in China. Vol. 5: Chemistry and chemical technology. Part 11: Ferrous metallurgy.
    Cambridge University Press, 2008. 512 pp.
    Table of contents and introductory matter || Publisher's blurb
      John Keay in The Times literary supplement, 3 October 2008.
      Anonymous in SciTech News, December 2008, p. 3.
      Thilo Rehren in Journal of archaeological science, 2009, 36: 565-566.
      Merton Flemings in JOM [Journal of metals], 2009, 61.2.
      David Crossley in Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, 2009, 43.1: 66-68.
      Ken Coates in The spokesman (Slump and war), 2009, 102: 60-66.
      J. W. Dauben in Choice, June 2009.
      Paul Craddock in Ambix, 2010, 57.2: 231-232.
      Dagmar Schäfer in Metascience, 14 April 2010, online.
      Jianjun Mei in Revue de synthèse, 2010, 131.3: 465-469.
      Nathan Sivin in China review international, 2009 [2010], 16.3: 390-394.
      Mei Jianjun 梅建军 in Zhongguo kejishi zazhi 中国科技史杂志, 2011, 32.1: 111–118.
      George Bryan Souza in East Asian science, technology, and medicine, 2013/14, 37: 98–100.
  • Den traditionelle jernindustri i Kina og dens moderne skæbne.
    Odense: Erhvervsskolernes Forlag, 2008. 40 s.
    Forlagets reklame
      Peder Wiben i Noter / Historielærerforeningen for Gymnasiet og HF, 2008, nr. 179, s. 9-10.
      Helle Askgaard i Gymnasieskolen, 19. februar 2009.
      Carl Steen Pedersen i Gymnasieskolen, 16. marts 2009.
      Birthe Mølhave i EMU–Danmarks Undervisningsportal.

  • Articles

  • “Liu Hui and Tsu Keng-chih on the volume of a sphere”, Chinese science, 1978, 3: 59-79.
    Web version.

  • “Doubts concerning the attribution of Liu Hui's commentary on the Chiu-chang suan-shu, Acta Orientalia, 1978, 39: 199-212.
    Screen copy (700 Kbytes) || Printing copy (5 Mbytes).

  • “An ancient Chinese derivation of the volume of a pyramid: Liu Hui, third century A.D.”, Historia mathematica, 1979, 6: 164-188.
    Web version

  • 公元三世纪刘徽关于锥体体积的推导, tr. by Guo Shuchun 郭书春 and Mei Rongzhao 梅荣照科学史译丛 (Beijing), 1980.2: 1-15. Translation of preceding.

  • “Selected lumber from The forest of laughter”, Orientaliska studier, Feb. 1979, 33/34: 29-35.

  • Hsia Nai, “Bibliography of recent archaeological discoveries bearing on the history of science and technology”, tr. by DBW, Chinese science, Sept. 1980, 4: 19-52.

  • “Archaeological sources for the history of science, technology, and medicine: Some supplementary references”, ibid., pp. 53-60.

  • “Silk weaving techniques of Han China: The monochrome patterned weaves”, by John Becker and DBW. Bulletin de liaison du Centre Internationale d'Étude des Textiles Anciens, 1981, 53: 21-43. Errata, 54: 11-14.

  • Contributions to Geometry and algebra in ancient civilisations, by B.L. van der Waerden, Berin etc.: Springer-Verlag, 1983. Ca. 15 pp.

  • “Some traditional Chinese iron-production techniques practiced in the 20th century”, Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, Sept. 1984, 18.2: 95-104.

  • “A proof of the Pythagorean theorem by Liu Hui (third century A.D.)”, Historia mathematica, 1985, 12: 71-73.
    Web version.

  • Abbreviated translations of 10 articles in Chinese archaeological journals, Chinese archaeological abstracts,vol. 2-4, ed. by Albert E. Dien, Jeffrey K. Riegel, and Nancy T. Price, Los Angeles: Project for the Study of Chinese Archaeological Material, 1986. 94 pp.
      Lothar von Falkenhausen in The review of archaeology, 1990, 11.1: 10-16 (note p. 11).

  • “Swords and ploughshares, ironmasters and officials: Iron in China in the third century B.C.”, pp. 174-192 in Analecta Hafniensia: 25 years of East Asian studies in Copenhagen, ed. by Leif Littrup, London: Curzon Press, 1988.
      Françoise Aubin in Études chinoises,1989, 8.2: 121-126 (note pp. 121-122).

  • “The dating of the Chu graves of Changsha: The earliest iron artifacts in China?”, Acta Orientalia, 1987, 48: 111-156.
    Web version.

  • “Ancient Chinese copper smelting, sixth century B.C.: Recent excavations and simluation experiments”, Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, 1986, 20.1: 1-16. Extensive errata list, 1987, 21.1: 51.
    Web copy.

  • “The transmission of the blast furnace from China to Europe: Some notes to complement Prof. Tylecote's paper”, pp. 50-60 in Medieval iron in society II: Papers and discussions at the symposium in Norberg, May 6-10, 1985. Stockholm: Jernkontoret & Riksantikvarieämbetet, 1986.

  • “Støbejerns metallurgi og lidt om kinesisk støbejern”, 53 pp. in Jern: Fremstilling, nedbrydning og bevaring. Fortryk af forelæsninger til Nordisk Videreuddannelse af Konservatorer, København, 17-28 august 1987. København: Nationalmuseet, Bevaringssektionen, 1987. (“The metallurgy of cast iron, with some notes on Chinese cast iron”, two lectures for museum conservators).

  • “Ancient carburization of iron to steel: A comment”, Archeomaterials, 1990, 4.1: 111-117; erratum, 4.2: 118.
    Web version.

  • “The language of the ancient Chinese state of Wu”, East Asian Institute occasional papers (University of Copenhagen), 1990, 6: 161-176.
    Web copy (pdf, 150 dpi, 3 Mbytes).

  • “Jern og stål i oldtidens Kina”, Polhem: Tidskrift för teknikhistoria, 1990, 8.1: 2-37. (“Iron and steel in ancient China”).

  • “The cast iron lion of Ts'ang-chou”, Needham Research Institute newsletter, no. 10, June 1991, pp. 2-3.
    Web version.

  • “China: Iron: Early”, article in The dictionary of art, London: Macmillan, 1996. 1500 words.
    Publisher's blurb.

  • “Monumentaler Eisenguss in China”, pp. 123-130 in China, eine Wiege der Weltkultur: 5000 Jahre Erfindungen und Entdeckungen, hrsg. v. Arne Eggebrecht, Mainz am Rhein: von Zabern, 1994. (Exhibition catalogue.) Translation of “Chinese monumental iron castings”, below.

  • “The traditional Chinese iron industry and its modern fate”, Chinese science,1995, 12: 138-161.
    Web copy).

  • “Copperworks no. 2 in Kaifeng, China”, Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society,1995, 29.2: 113-116. [Published 1997].
    Web version.

  • “The earliest use of iron in China”, pp. 1-9 in Metals in antiquity,ed. by Suzanne M. M. Young, A. Mark Pollard, Paul Budd, and Robert A. Ixer (BAR International series,792), Oxford: Archaeopress, 1999.
    Web version

  • “Chinese monumental iron castings”, Journal of East Asian archaeology, 2000, 2.3/4: 199-224

  • “Aspetti tecnologici: La metallurgia del ferro”, tr. by Fabrizio Pregadio, in Storia della Scienza [Encyclopedia of the History of Science], vol. II:  Cina, India, Americhe, ed. by Karine Chemla, in cooperation with Francesca Bray, Fu Daiwie, Huang Yi-Long, and Georges Métailié. Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 2001.
    Technology as seen through the case of ferrous metallurgy in Han China

  • “Blast furnaces in Song-Yuan China”, East Asian science, technology, and medicine, 2001, 18: 41-74.
    Web version.

  • “The administration of the iron industry in eleventh-century China”, Journal of the economic and social history of the Orient, 2001, 44.2: 175-197.
    Web version.

  • “The earliest use of iron in China”, Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Stockholm), 75: 127-169. Revision of 1999 version, above

  • “Chinese blast furnaces from the 10th to the 14th century”, Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, 2003, 37.1: 25-37. Abridged version of “Blast furnaces in Song-Yuan China”, above.

  • “Iron cannons of China”, Indian journal of history of science, 2005, 40.4: 437-449. Abridgement of “Chinese monumental iron castings”, above.

  • “The state ironworks in Zunhua, Hebei, 1403-1581”, Late Imperial China, 2005, 26.2: 68-88.
    Web version

  • “Iron production in three Ming texts: Tie ye zhi, Guangdong xinyu, and Tian gong kai wu, pp. 172-188 in Studies on ancient Chinese scientific and technical texts: Proceedings of the 3rd ISACBRST, March 31 - April 3, 2003, Tübingen, Germany, ed. by Hans Ulrich Vogel, Christine Moll-Murata, and Gao Xuan, Zhengzhou: Elephant Press, 2006. [Third International Symposium on Ancient Chinese Books and Records of Science and Technology].
    Web version.

  • “Song Yingxing's illustrations of iron production”, pp. 615-632 in Graphics and text in the production of technical knowledge in China: The warp and the weft, edited by Francesca Bray, Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann, and Georges Métailié, Leiden: Brill, 2007. Extract from “Iron production in three Ming texts”, above.

  • “Chinese steel making techniques, with a note on Indian wootz steel in China”, Indian journal of history of science, 2007, 42.3: 289-318.

  • 中国古代的大型铸铁器, tr. by Li Yuan 李园, in 文物科 技研究 (“Scientific and technical research on cultural heritage”), vol. 5, Beijing: Kexue Chubanshe 科学出版 社, 2007, pp. 68-82 + colour plates 10-15. Tr. of “Chinese monumental iron castings”, above.
    Web copy (8.5 Mbytes)

  • “Wang Xiaotong on right triangles: Six problems from ‘Continuation of ancient mathematics’ (7th century AD)”, by Tina Su-lyn Lim and DBW, forthcoming in  East Asian science, technology, and medicine, 2013.
    Free on-line access.

  • “The Grand Astrologer’s platform and ramp: Four problems in solid geometry from Wang Xiaotong’s ‘Continuation of ancient mathematics’ (7th century AD)”, by Tina Su-lyn Lim and DBW,  Historia mathematica, 2013, 40.1: 3–35.
    Preprint | Paid on-line access

  • “中国宋元时期的高炉”, tr. by Yang Sheng 杨盛 (Deputy director, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, Chengdu Museum), Nanfang minzu kaogu 南方民族考古, 2014, 10: 263–281. Translation of “Blast furnaces in Song-Yuan China”, 2001.
    Web copy.

  • Reviews and short notices

  • Review of Wolfgang Ruppert: Mathematik in China,Wien 1976, The China quarterly,June 1978, 74: 430-431.

  • “The stone drums of Qin” (essay review of G. L. Mattos: The stone drums of Ch'in,Nettetal 1988), Acta Orientalia,1990, 51: 241-256.
    Web version.

  • Review of William Rostoker and Bennet Bronson: Pre-industrial iron: Its technology and ethnology, Philadelphia 1990, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (Leiden), 1993, 36: 304-308.
    Web version.

  • “The beginning of iron in China”, EAANnouncements (East Asian Archaeology Network), Autumn 1995, no. 17, p. 6.
    Web version.

  • “The 7th International Conference on the the History of Science in China, Shenzhen, 16-20 January 1996”, Bulletin of the International Society for the History of East Asian Science, Technology and Medicine,1.2: 11-12.
    Web version.

  • “Thirteenth-century Chinese pelletising kilns? Ha Law Wan, Hong Kong”, HMS news (Historical Metallurgy Society), Spring 1996, no. 36, pp. 6-8. Abridged version in EAANnouncements (East Asian Archaeology Network), 1996, no. 19, p. 17.
    Web version.

  • Review of Peter Golas: Science and civilisation in China, vol. 5, part 13: Mining, Cambridge University Press 1999, East Asian science, technology, and medicine (Tübingen), 2002 (publ. 2003), 19: 116-119.
    Web version

  • Review of Martha Lamberg-Karlovsky (ed.): The breakout: The origins of civilization, Cambridge, Mass.: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 2000, Journal of World History, 2003, 14.4: 551-553.
    Web version

  • Review of H. T. Huang: Science and civilisation in China, vol. 6, part 5: Fermentations and food science, Cambridge University Press 2000, British Journal for the History of Science, 2005, 38.1: 103–4.
    Web version

  • Review of Karine Chemla and Guo Shuchun: Les neuf chapitres: Le classique mathématique de la Chine ancienne et ses commentaires, Centaurus, 2006, 48.4: 319-322.
    Web copy

  • Review of Michael Loewe: The Government of the Qin and Han Empires: 221 BCE - 220 CE, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Series 3, 2007, 17.4: 389-406.
    Web preprint

  • Review of Jianjun Mei and Thilo Rehren (eds): Metallurgy and Civilisation: Eurasia and Beyond, Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Beginnings of the Use of Metals and Alloys (BUMA VI). Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, 2010, 44.1: 59-61.

  • “Environment”, pp. 433–434 in The world of iron, ed. by Jane Humphris and Thilo Rehren, London: Archetype, 2013.

  • “One minute interview”, The crucible: Historical Metallurgy Society news, Spring 2015, 88: 8–9.

  • Web publications

    “There is a marvellous peace in not publishing.” —J.D. Salinger

    [I take this to mean: “. . . not having to deal with publishers.”]

  • “Early iron in China, Korea, and Japan”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Los Angeles, 25-28 March 1993.

  • “The casting of iron woks in Guangdong, China, in 1840”. Poster presentation, Founders, smiths and platers: International Conference on metal forming and finishing from the earliest times, Oxford, 20-24 September, 1999.

  • Klassisk kinesisk læsebog: Li Guangs biografi i Shi ji, med noter og gloser for studerende. 92 s.
    30 April 2002

  • “Some Chinese steelmaking methods”. Poster presentation, Metallurgy - a touchstone for cross-cultural interaction, British Museum, London, 28-30 April 2005.
    Screen copy,, (570 Kbytes) || Printing copy, (3.2 Mbytes)

  • A Classical Chinese Reader: The 'Memoir on the Eastern Barbarians' in Hou Han shu, with notes and glosses for students of Chinese and Korean. Draft, 14 March 2007. (7.3 Mbytes).

  • Annotated bibliography on the Great Wall of China. Draft, 26 March 2007.

  • Chinese tinkers. 17 August 2009.

  • Cast iron in China and Europe.
    Revised web version of a talk at the one-day Symposium on Cast Iron in Ancient China, in Beijing, 20 July 2009.

  • Some ironfounding cupola furnaces in Asia and Europe.
    Poster for ArchaeoMetallurgy Conference: Joint conference in honour of Dr Gerry McDonnell and the HMS Research in Progress Meeting, University of Bradford, 10-12 November, 2009.

  • Steelmaking in a tiny open furnace, 3 September 2010.

  • Den traditionelle jernindustri i Kina og dens moderne skæbne, 22. november 2010.
    Let revideret web-udgave af hæftet udgivet i 2008 med samme titel.

  • The history and archaeology of Chang’an, capital of the Western Han dynasty: An annotated bibliography.
    7 February 2011.'an.htm.

  • A collection of interesting and/or useful articles and texts by others: Archaeometallurgy, Chinese archaeology, Corpus des pierres sculptés Han, Jigu suanjing, Otto Johannsen

  • Background to the Great Leap Forward in Iron and Steel: The Traditional Chinese iron industry and its modern fate.
    August 2011

  • Shen Gua and an ignorant editor on the length of an arc.
    12 February 2012

  • Another ignorant editor? Note on a mathematical problem in a 14th-century Chinese treatise on river conservancy.
    28 October 2012

  • 钢铁生产大跃进的背景 — 中国传统制铁业及其现代命运, translated by Yang Sheng 杨盛 (Deputy director, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, Chengdu Museum). Translation of “Background to the Great Leap Forward in Iron and Steel”, above.
    March 2013

  • Mathematics, astronomy, and the planning of public works in China, Han to Yuan (1st century BCE – 14th century CE).
    1 May 2013

  • 中国补锅匠, translated by Yang Sheng 杨盛 (Deputy director, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, Chengdu Museum). Translation of “Chinese tinkers”, above.
    August 2013.

  • CV

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