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.

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This, the work of several generations of Jesuits who translated Confucian classics into Latin, presented these to the West for the first time.

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.

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

The famous Jesuit mathematician Christopher Clavius (1538-1612) taught generations of Jesuit missionaries, including Matteo Ricci. They often carried his books with them.