ERRATA FOR GUNPOWDER AGE
My publisher does not include an erratum page in the book itself, so I'm keeping a list of the errors I know about here. (My publisher promises to incorporate changes in the paperback edition.) So far, the most embarrassing mistakes are on pp. 16 to 17. To report an error, click here.
P. 17 Figure 1.1, the Fire bird (火禽), is described as depicting a gunpowder delivery device. It doesn't. This poor bird is in fact carrying a traditional incendiary (mugwort tinder). Although fire-birds were indeed fitted with gunpowder later, there's no excuse for my error here. The text from which this image was taken — the Wu jing zong yao — makes clear how this firebird was equipped. To make up for this error, I've made a primer for readers who might wish to make their own firebird, with a translation of bits from the Wu jing zong yao. All you need is a pheasant, a peach pit, and some mugwort tinder. Fun for the whole family! Click here for instructions. [This error was found by the author.]
P. 16 The sentence "Many of these weapons…” should be rewritten to say the following: "Many of these weapons represented paths not taken, and when you page through early military compendia such as the Wu jing zong yao or the Book of the Fire Dragon, it’s as though you’re looking at a stratum of fossils from an earlier geological era: the types show commonalities with modern forms, but most are extinct." This error, too, is based on an inattentive reading of the main text, Wu jing zong yao. [This error was found by the author.]
P. 411 The bibliography entry for "穌同炳" should in fact be "蘇同炳." [This error was reported by Lu Cheng-heng.]