Suzhou numerals

Suzhou numerals
Huama numerals.svg
Traditional Chinese蘇州碼子
Simplified Chinese苏州码子
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese花碼
Simplified Chinese花码
Literal meaningflowery or fancy numbers

The Suzhou numerals, also known as Suzhou mazi (蘇州碼子), is a numeral system used in China before the introduction of Arabic numerals. The Suzhou numerals are also known as huama (花碼), caoma (草碼), jingzima (菁仔碼), fanzima (番仔碼) and shangma (商碼).[1]


The Suzhou numerals for 5 and 9 come from their respective horizontal forms of the rod numerals.

The Suzhou numeral system is the only surviving variation of the rod numeral system. The rod numeral system is a positional numeral system used by the Chinese in mathematics. Suzhou numerals are a variation of the Southern Song rod numerals.

Suzhou numerals were used as shorthand in number-intensive areas of commerce such as accounting and bookkeeping. At the same time, standard Chinese numerals were used in formal writing, akin to spelling out the numbers in English. Suzhou numerals were once popular in Chinese marketplaces, such as those in Hong Kong along with local transportation before the 1990s, but they have gradually been supplanted by Arabic numerals.[citation needed] This is similar to what had happened in Europe with Roman numerals used in ancient and medieval Europe for mathematics and commerce. Nowadays, the Suzhou numeral system is only used for displaying prices in Chinese markets[2] or on traditional handwritten invoices.[citation needed]

Other Languages
العربية: أرقام سوجو
Bân-lâm-gú: Chheⁿ-á-bé
Bahasa Indonesia: Bilangan Suzhou
Bahasa Melayu: Angka Suzhou
日本語: 蘇州号碼
Piemontèis: Numerassion Suzhou
polski: Cyfry Suzhou
русский: Цифры Сучжоу
українська: Цифри Сучжоу
吴语: 苏州码子
粵語: 花碼
中文: 苏州码子