Companions in Geography

East-West Collaboration in the Mapping of Qing China (c. 1685-1735)


In Companions in Geography Mario Cams revisits the early 18th century mapping of Qing China, without doubt one of the largest cartographic endeavours of the early modern world. Commonly seen as a Jesuit initiative, the project appears here as the result of a convergence of interests among the French Academy of Sciences, the Jesuit order, and the Kangxi emperor (r. 1661-1722). These connections inspired the gradual integration of European and East Asian scientific practices and led to a period of intense land surveying, executed by large teams of Qing officials and European missionaries. The resulting maps and atlases, all widely circulated across Eurasia, remained the most authoritative cartographic representations of continental East Asia for over a century.

This book is based on Dr. Mario Cams' dissertation, which has been awarded the "2017 DHST Prize for Young Scholars" from the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Division of History of Science and Technology (IUHPST/DHST).

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Mario Cams, Ph.D. (University of Leuven, 2015), is Assistant Professor at the University of Macau’s Department of History and specializes in the history of early Sino-European contacts, late imperial China, and the history of cartography.
"This substantial and in many ways impressive work analyses map making in the Qing-dynasty empire during the reign of Kangxi emperor (1661–1722), and that of his successor Yongzheng (1722–1735). […] Cams’s book is clearly well grounded and written; it unquestionably offers valuable new insights to sinologists and researchers working on a variety of topics, opening the door for further research." Davor Antonucci, Sapienza Università di Roma (Imago Mundi 70:2 2018)

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Towards a New Cartography of Cross-cultural Circulation
 1 Situating the Study
 2 Delineation and Approach
 3 Cartography and the Jesuit Missions to China
 4 Chapter Overview

1 Instruments for the Emperor: New Frontiers, New Practices
 1.1 An Instrumental Convergence of Interests
  1.1.1 The Académie and the Instrument Market in Paris
  1.1.2 The King’s Mathematicians’ Interest in Cartography
  1.1.3 Paris-made Instruments for the French Mission
 1.2 Improving Cartographies: An Emperor’s Quest
  1.2.1 The Kangxi Emperor’s Cartographic Aspirations
  1.2.2 Qing Statecraft and Cartographic Practice
  1.2.3 The Qing Court’s Appropriation of Paris-made Instruments
 1.3 Frontier Matters: New Qing Cartographic Practice
  1.3.1 Integrating the Khalka: Exploring a New Frontier
  1.3.2 The 1698 Preliminary Survey
  1.3.3 Re-standardizing the Qing’s Most Basic Unit of Length

Intermission One: Missionaries or Mapmakers? The Mapping Project and its Place in the Mission
  Justifying Missionary Involvement
  The Unauthorized Return of Joachim Bouvet

2 Of Instruments and Maps: The Land Surveys in Practice
 2.1 Beyond the Passes: Observations and Calculations
  2.1.1 New Qing Cartographic Practice along the Great Wall
  2.1.2 Revisiting the Manchu Homelands and Northern Frontiers
  2.1.3 Strategic Expeditions into Korea and Tibet
 2.2 The Logistics in Mapping the Chinese Provinces
  2.2.1 Moving South: Sequence, Timing and Strategies
  2.2.2 Directed from the Center: The Emperor and His Administration
  2.2.3 Team Composition and Local Support
 2.3 The Imperial Workshops Connection
  2.3.1 Mapmakers from the Inner Palace
  2.3.2 European Technical Experts and Assistants
  2.3.3 The Logistical Centrality of the Imperial Workshops

Intermission Two: Missionaries and Mapmakers: Missionary Activity during the Land Surveys
  The Restitution of Church Buildings
  The Impact of the Chinese Rites Controversy

3 The Afterlife of Maps: Circulation, Adaptation, and Negotiation
 3.1 The Printed Life of the Overview Maps of Imperial Territories
  3.1.1 The Woodblock Editions
  3.1.2 The Copperplate Editions
  3.1.3 Imperially Commissioned Compilations and Later Renditions
 3.2 The European Incorporation of a Qing Atlas
  3.2.1 Early Transmissions and Reception in Europe
  3.2.2 Contracting Jean-Baptiste Bourguingon d’Anville
  3.2.3 Intercultural Adaptation: d’Anville’s Regional Maps
 3.3 Beijing, Paris and Saint Petersburg: Negotiating the Gaps
  3.3.1 d’Anville’s General Maps and the Paris-Saint Petersburg Connection
  3.3.2 The Saint Petersburg Connection to Beijing
  3.3.3 d’Anville’s Maps: Reception and Further Adaptations
  Annex: Extant Kangxi-era Sheets (Printed)

Conclusion: Unlocking Dichotomies: Revisiting Cross-cultural Circulation
  On Qing Imperial Cartography: Traditional vs. Scientific Practice
  On the Role of the Individual: Global vs. Local Networks
  On Instruments and Maps: The Circulation vs. the Production of Knowledge
  On Interculturality: China vs. Europe

References and Bibliography
All interested in early Sino-European contacts, the Jesuit missions to China, the history of cartography, and late imperial China, Qing China in particular.
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