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.


Printers in Rome had access to information from all around the world, due to the visits of missionaries and pilgrims.

Hundreds of sailors and missionaries set out each year from the mouth of the Targus River.

Portuguese vessels needed a place to refuel after rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Mozambique provided this safe haven.

Philippe Couplet (1622-1693) was a Flemish Jesuit who returned to Europe as procurator. During this journey he published books and met wealthy patrons.