Feng-Chuan Pan

Kangxi Emperor Viewed by the Kings' Mathematicians: Focusing on the Travel Writings of Louis Lecomte and Joachim Bouvet

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Emperor Kangxi; Jesuits in China; Mathematicians of the King; Chinese Monarchy; Travel Writing.

This paper investigates the images of Chinese Emperor described in the travel writings published by two of the mathematicians of the Sun King, focusing on the two books by Joachim Bouvet (1656-1730) and Louis Le Comte (1655-1728). Three main topics highlighted in the travel writings: (1) the idea and practices of monarchy (single ruling) in Chinese political system, (2) Kangxi's reception of Western learning and (3) wondering between Kangxi and Louis XIV, looking forward to the promising conversion to Christianity of Chinese Empire. The author discovers that Emperor Kangxi was portrayed the exemplar image of an ideal philosopher king, eventually played an influential role in the process of secularization, viz. the political independent from the Catholic Church.

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