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.

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


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

Ricci’s Journals were rapidly reproduced. This is the first Italian edition, translated by Antonio Sozzini in Naples in 1622.

We forget that even commonplace plants had to originate somewhere. Here missionaries describe the properties of a new plant - "rhubarb".

Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688) was a Flemish Jesuit who became President of the Chinese Imperial Tribunal of Mathematics in Beijing in 1669.