Observing the night skies could have also been used by the ancient Chinese as a guide like how travellers depend on the North Star. Earliest records of stars were found carved on bones and shells. One very significant record made by ancient Chinese astronomers was that of a solar eclipse in 2136 BC, the first human record of a solar eclipse in the world found encrypted on a bone. In 2006, a stone carving of what is believed to be the Big Dipper was found by Wu Jiaca in Inner Mongolia and is predicted to have been carved in 4000 BC. The position of the carving was on the north side of the stone, pointing to the direction of the said constellation.
Carvings and maps of the stars by ancient Chinese astronomers were found by some European at Dunhuang, a major resting place before travelling into the western deserts. It was speculated that the maps were used by the travellers to guide them along the Silk Road. The maps dated to 700 AD and contain 1,350 stars arranged in the manner on how one sees the horizon.
The oldest star map known in Chinese history dates back to the Warring States Period (403-211 BC). It was made by Shi Shen and was already been missing. Other maps were at the Ancient Beijing Observatory and the International Dunhuang Project of the British Library.
The long years of watching the moon, stars and the sun by the ancient Chinese astronomers led to the birth of the Chinese calendar. Observation of the sun, the moon and the stars is very important in predicting the reoccurrence of an event. The first Chinese calendar was said to be lunisolar or based on both the lunar and the solar cycles. The Huangdi Li, Zhuanxu Li, Xia Li, Yin Li, Zhou Li, and Lu Li were some of the earliest formal calendars accepted. There was an estimated 102 Chinese calendars that have been developed and revised from the Xia dynasty (2070-1600 BC) to the Qing Dynasty (1645-1911) until finally the Chinese