Explore East-West cross-cultural exchange
as found in rare books written about China
by Jesuit missionaries

About the Books

The Jesuitana Collection contains more than 2,500 volumes published by or about the Jesuits prior to the order’s suppression in 1773. It documents the significant contributions of Jesuits to a wide range of disciplines in the early modern period, including in the fields of mathematics, science, history, travel, philosophy and Biblical exegesis. Here are 13 important books from the collection. All of them deal with east-west cultural exchange.

How to Use the Online Books View All Books

Although based at the Roman College, Kircher used missionary writings to compile this work about China’s geography, flora and fauna.


Around 1738, Emmanuel Bowen (cartographer for George II and Louis XV, 1714-1767) translated this work into English from the original French.

Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709) was a Jesuit brother who was also an artist and an architect. His work on perspective was translated into Chinese.

In keeping with the historic and continuing practice of the Jesuits, an artist was commissioned to help participate in the book exhibition that initiated this project. Ralf Gawlick, composer, responded to the epic story of Ricci.

Silk has been cultivated in China since ancient times, a fact well known in the west for centuries. It still arouses much interest.