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By Catherine Jami

In 1644 the Qing dynasty seized strength in China. Its Manchu elite have been firstly visible via so much in their matters as foreigners from past the good Wall, and the consolidation of Qing rule awarded major cultural and political difficulties, in addition to army demanding situations. It was once the Kangxi emperor (r. 1662-1722) who set the dynasty on a company footing, and considered one of his major stratagems to accomplish this used to be the appropriation for imperial reasons of the medical wisdom dropped at China via the Jesuit venture (1582-1773).

For nearly centuries, the Jesuits positioned the sciences within the provider of evangelization, instructing and working towards what got here to be referred to as 'Western studying' between chinese language students, lots of whom took an lively curiosity in it. After coming to the throne as undefined, Kangxi started his life-long intervention in mathematical and clinical issues whilst he pressured a go back to using Western tools in legit astronomy. In center existence, he studied astronomy, musical thought and arithmetic, with Jesuits as his lecturers. In his final years he subsidized an outstanding compilation protecting those 3 disciplines, and set a number of of his sons to paintings in this undertaking. All of this task shaped an essential component of his plan to set up Manchu authority over the chinese language. This ebook explains why Kangxi made the sciences a device for laying the principles of empire, and to teach how, as a part of this technique, arithmetic was once reconstructed as a department of imperial learning.

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The calendar had always been of utmost political and symbolical importance in China. Issued in the emperor’s name, it ensured that human activity followed the cycles of the cosmos. 76 In 1613, Li Zhizao presented a memorial to the throne, recommending that three Jesuits should assist the work for a reform that had been proposed three years earlier. His proposal seems to have been among the causes of what is known as ‘the Nanjing persecution’ (1616–1617): beside hostility to Christianity from officials, the Jesuits’ description of the heavens as consisting of a number of concentric crystalline spheres was regarded by some of them as highly subversive.

The author of the Summary of questions about the heavens (Tianwen lu¨e 天問略, 1615), Manuel Dias Jr (1574–1659) does not seem to have studied outside 61 Standaert 2001, 600–631. 62 On this compendium, see Ahn 2007; for the date of Tianxue chuhan, I follow Standaert 2001, 141. 63 Standaert 2001, 606. 64 Aspects of the Christian worldview were also introduced in the Jesuits’ presentation of some aspects of European medicine; Standaert 1999b. 65 Engelfriet 1998, 301–313, Engelfriet & Siu 2001, 294–303.

54 To this list one should add The meaning of measurement methods (Celiang fayi 測量法義, 1608), a brief treatise on surveying completed by Ricci and Xu Guangqi at the same time as the Elements of geometry. 55 The structure of mathematics as a whole according to the quadrivium, and the Aristotelian duality between number and magnitude as the two instances of quantity that underlay this structure, were presented by Ricci in his preface to the Elements: The school of quantity (ji he jia 幾何家) consists of those who concentrate on examining the parts (fen 分) and boundaries (xian 限) of things.

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