You are here

Thursday, May 14, 2009 - 19:30

How Europe Learned of China: Important Maps and Books from 1585 to 1841

Ron Anton, SJ

Director, The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies

The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies


University of International Business & Economics

(Duiwai Jingmao Daxue) Room 439, Ning Yuan Building

(SE corner of campus) 10 Huixin Dong Jie, Chaoyang

In 1585, the Augustinian monk Juan González de Mendoza published the first history of contemporary China in a European language. Commissioned by the Pope himself and containing the first illustration of Chinese characters to be printed in Europe, it became an immediate “best seller” and the most influential and detailed work on China prepared in the 16th century. It was not until 30 years later, that another work on China took the European literary world by storm: the publication of the diary of pioneer sinologist and Jesuit missionary, Matteo Ricci, edited and enlarged by his fellow Jesuit, Nicolas Trigault.

Including Mendoza's history, the first atlases, the first translation of Confucian works and the accounts of the Embassy to China of Lord Macartney and Lord Amherst, Professor Ron Anton will present and discuss significant books written by missionaries, merchants and diplomats from The Beijing Center's library collection.