China illustrata

Athanasius Kircher
Amsterdam 1667
Houghton Library
pf Typ 632.67.487

Click for full-size imageThe Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher never travelled to China, but his compilation of written and oral accounts by Jesuit missionaries was extremely influential in shaping early European conceptions of China.
The figures in this scene are identified as Matteo Ricci and Xu Guangqi εΎε…‰ε•Ÿ, who took the name Paul after his conversion to Catholicism in 1603. Both were instrumental in establishing the Jesuit mission in China. The symmetry and open postures of the two figures, as well as the shared attribute of the fan, alongside Christian iconography, suggest mutual exchange and openness.

(Click image for full-sized reproduction)

Explore Kircher's China illustrata via the Jesuitica Collection at Boston College

Related Objects: