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.


The Chinese Rites Controversy was about missionary methods. Louis Le Comte (1655-1728) wrote this letter to gain support for the Jesuits.

Often known as Ricci’s Journals, this work discusses Christian expansion into China, as narrated by the famous Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci (1552-1610).

Alessandro Valignano (1539-1606) was an Italian Jesuit priest and the architect of the missions in the east. He was Ricci’s novice master.

Louis XIV appointed as his mathematicians Guy Tachard (1648-1712) and five others and sent them to Asia. Their journey included Thailand (Siam).