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Feature Reviews 19© 1995 by University ofHawai'i Press BooL· on Cultural Exchange between China and the West in the Late Ming and Early Qing Mme Yves de Thomaz de Bossierre. Jean-François Gerbillon SJ., (16541707 ): Un des cinq mathématiciens envoyés en ChineparLouis XIV. Leuven: Ferdinand Verbiest Foundation, 1994. 211 pp. JosefKolmas, translator and editor. Karel Slavícek: Listy ? Ciny do vlasti a jina korespondence s evropskymi hvezdari (1716-1735): Lettersfrom China to His Native Country and Other Correspondence with European Astronomers (1716-1736). Prague: Vysehrad Publishers, 1994. 270 pp. Eugenio Menegon. Un solo Cielo: Giulio Aleni SJ. (1582-1649): Geografìa, arte, scienza, religione dall'Europa alla Cina. Brescia: Grafo, 1994. 217 pp. John W. Witek, editor. Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688): Jesuit Missionary, Scientist, Engineer and Diplomat. Monumenta Serica Monograph Series 30. Nettetal: Steyler Verlag, 1994. 602 pp. Noel Golvers. The Astronomia Europaea ofFerdinand Verbiest, SJ., (Dillingen, 1687): Text, Translation, Notes and Commentaries. Monumenta Serica Monograph Series 28. Nettetal: Steyler Verlag, 1993. 547 pp. Catherine Jami and Hubert Delahaye, editors. L'Europe en Chine: Interactions scientifiques, religieuses et culturelles auxXVIIe etXVIIIe siècles. Mémoires de l'Institut des Hautes Études Chinoises 34. Paris: Collège de France, 1993. 255 pp. Zhang Yongtang 3Sa^. Mingmo Qingchu lixue yu kexue guanxi zailun MitÍOS^IPWBB^SII (New discussion on the relationship between neo-Confucianism and science in the Late Ming-Early Qing Period ). Taibei: Xuesheng Shuju, 1994. 287 pp. J. S. Cummins. A Question ofRites: Friar Domingo Navarrete and theJesuits in China. Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1993. 349 pp. Hardcover $67.95. The eight books under review present a good picture ofthe state ofresearch on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century cultural exchange between China and theWest. 20 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995 The classical approach of all of this research focuses on missionary activities and is fully based on Western sources.1 The book by Mme Yves de Thomaz de Bossiere can be situated in this category. Her two previous works brought together material concerning Antoine Thomas, S.J. (1644-1709) and FrançoisXavier Dentrecolles, SJ. (1664-1741). Her new work presents a figure who is not very well known. lean-François Gerbillon (1654-1707) is one ofthe so-called "mathematicians" sent to China by Louis XIV ofFrance. Gerbillion was a translator at the negotiations that resulted in the Sino-Russian Treaty ofNertchinsk (1689), and he also left a report on eight trips during which he accompanied Emperor Kangxi in the Mongol region. Unfortunately Thomaz' work presents less new material than it seems to contain at first sight. Chapter 2 on the Nertchinsk treaty and chapter 3 on Kangxi's inspection and hunting trips are summaries of primary and secondary sources that are readily available. The more interesting part is the transcription of Gerbillon's letters, in chapters 4 and 5. They give the historian an idea of the observations and thoughts of a more ordinary missionary in Beijing at the end of the seventeenth century. They also contain some rare descriptions of the personality and the activities ofEmperor Kangxi. Quite a few deal with the intra-Jesuit conflicts between the Portuguese and French fathers and the intra-Church conflicts concerning the Chinese rites. These letters may not add many new insights to the general knowledge of East-West contacts in the late seventeenth century, but they are now at least made more easily available to specialists. The letters of Karel Slavicek, S.J. (1678-1735), have also been made available as translated and edited by Professor Josef Kolmas, chairman of the Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. As a missionary, Slavicek stayed mostly in Beijing in the period following Gerbillon. Slavicek was a mathematician, an astronomer, and a musician who was in correspondence with the foremost European scholars of the day, such as the St. Petersburg Sinologist T. S. Bayer (1694-1738) and the astronomer and geographer J.-N. Delisle (16881768 ), also of St. Petersburg. These letters include a number of scholarly observations , remarks, calculations, and drawings, which are of interest to the historian of the European discovery of Chinese science, especially mathematics and astronomy . The present publication...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 19-28
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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