(Map of the main stars in the visible realm)
Adam Schall von Bell introduced the new astronomy of Galileo, including the telescope, to China. This single-sheet printed map with explanatory text shows the stars visible in the sky of northern China.
Barb. or. 151, fasc. 1c china07 HG.02
This elegant and finely engraved Chinese book on Western hydraulics by the Jesuit Sabatino de Ursis reveals both the importation of specific techniques and constructions to China and the eagerness with which many Chinese accepted European technical learning. The list of sponsors, a preface by a well-known convert who was the most skilled of all his peers in mathematics, and the textual breaks before Christian appellations are all evidence of the warm reception that Western technology received. Shown here is a traditional European force pump.
Barb. or. 142, fasc. 2, chuan 6 fol. 9a china08 HG.05
Matteo Ricci's technical explanation in Chinese of European astronomy was no doubt written with the help of his friend Li Chih-tsao, who contributed a preface. Notice the main circle's division into the twelve houses, and their polar projection. The work contains a preface by Ricci, as well as one by Li Chih-tsao, with a postscript by another Chinese friend. The prefaces give only the rough date "the end of the Wan-li reign" (i.e. ca. 1610- 1620).
Barb. or. 142, fasc. 3, chuan 2 fols. 32b - 33a china09 HG.06
Adam Schall's assistant, Verbiest, labored in a strange mode not quite Euclidean and not quite Chinese, as he pondered questions of the Chinese "I-ching" and geometric form. Aside from being a fortune book, the "I-ching" was the mainstay of an ancient philosophy of number and symmetry. It deals much with the numbers three and six, as seen in Verbiest's hexagons and triangles. He has larded his pages with sayings from that classic, apparently in his own hand. This pull-out page is one of many working notes that were bound together with Verbiest's printed eclipse predictions and his apologia of western astronomy for the Manchu court.
Borg. cin. 397 fol. 142 recto china10 HG.10
A group of prominent men in Canton gathered to produce a formal letter of respect to Father Tseng (the Jesuit Alvaro Semedo), calling him "Great Teacher and Priest, Master Tseng, Great Person Removed from Office." The last phrase refers to Semedo's imprisonment and banishment by the court in 1616, along with other Jesuits. Many fled to Macao, just outside Canton, but started returning to their posts throughout China when the furor subsided in 1620. In 1637, the date of the letter, Semedo was about to depart for the West.
Barb. or. 154, fasc. 1a china11 HG.08
This three-part manuscript catalog shows the books published and owned by an unidentified branch of Jesuits in China. On the reverse of sheet "C" is the signature of Philippe Couplet (1622- 1693), which was discovered while examining the manuscript in preparation for shipment to the Library of Congress for the 1993 exhibition. This allows us to deduce (in the absence of any other information) that Couplet, an important biographer and historian of the mission as well as sponsor of important Latin translations of Chinese classics, supervised its production.
R.G. or. 13 (Stragrande) china12 HG.13
The Jesuit Giulio Aleni brought western iconography to China, where it was used as the Chinese themselves had used illustrations, especially in Buddho-Taoist teaching. Here we have an intricate block-printed book of illustrations used as an aid to proselytization. Numbers in the text portion at the bottom of pages refer to figures and arrangements in the scenes of Christ's life.
Prima Racc. III 339 illustrations 7 and 8 china13 HG.14
In 1649, the Spanish Dominican Francisco Varo arrived in Southern China. Seeking a more direct way to master the language, he wrote "The Art of Mandarin Language" in Spanish. Here we see displayed the addendum, "Brevis methodus confessionis instituendae," written by Father Basilis of Glemona from the apostolate of Shensi province, in northern China. It is important evidence of missionary practices. Its romanized version of the common spoken Cantonese rapidly taught new missionaries how to perform rites and sacraments and hear confessions for potential converts in Chinese by rote; this tool was a Dominican answer to the Jesuits's method of long preparation in literary Chinese.
R.G. or. III 246, item 7 addendum, fols. 3b-4a china14 HG.15