The General History of China

Jean-Baptiste du Halde
London 1741
Houghton Library, Harvard University, f Ch 160.2.5, vol. 2

Click for full-size imageDu Halde's seminal Description de la Chine was the foundation of Enlightenment views of China and was translated into other European languages shortly after its initial publication. Du Halde provides an apocryphal account of the Chinese emperor's surprise at the facility with which the Jesuits were able to notate the music they heard at court. It erroneously claims that the Chinese lacked musical notation and argues for the superiority of European music.

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Multimedia: du Halde in the Chinese Courts

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