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.


The beautiful city of Hangzhou was an important center for Chinese Christianity, and many books were printed here.

Jesuits waiting to sail off to the missions spent months studying at the university here before their departures.

Ships travelling up the Thames brought knowledge to England’s capital and the London printers quickly circulated it near and far.

French Jesuits were in contact not only with the Native American peoples but also missionaries in Asia and South America.