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Louis Le Comte, Memoirs... made in a late Journey through the Empire of China (London, 1698), 2d ed.

Le Comte, a French Jesuit sent in 1687 by Louis XIV to work in the Kangxi court, depicted the Beijing observatory at the end of Schall’s life. Starting from the lower right and going counter-clockwise, the astronomical instruments are the armillary sphere, celestial globe, equinoctial sphere, azimuth horizon, quadrant, and sextant

The work also includes a depiction of the throne of the emperor and a fold-out map of China.

Galileo's World Exhibition Location

Source: History of Science Collections

Section: Jesuits in China

Section Number: 1

Object Number: 7

Subject Area(s): Astronomy, International Studies, Scientific Instruments, Geography, History

Time Period: 17th Century

Region(s): Europe, Asia, China, England, France

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Exhibit Gallery OERs

Orion: Baba, Nobutake (1706)

Orion China Learning Leaflet

This work, written by a Kyoto physician, represents Asian astronomy in the generation following Adam Schall. Baba countered superstitious interpretations of solar eclipses, and used magnetic theory rather than yin and yang to explain the tides. Baba adopted the Tychonic model of cosmology. His book exemplifies the circulation of knowledge in East Asia and the interplay between Asian and European ideas.


Johann Schreck: Galileo's Friend in China

Johann Schreck Learning Leaflet

How did knowledge spread in Galileo’s world? 

Johann Schreck joined the Jesuit order in 1611, the same year that he used Galileo's telescope to observe the satellites of Jupiter. Upon becoming a Jesuit, Schreck joined the Jesuit mission in China, taking with him a scientific library of approximately 7,000 volumes as well as a Galilean telescope. Schreck's story is the beginning of a century-long exchange of scientific ideas between Europe and Asia.