Foreign Devils and Philosophers

Cultural Encounters between the Chinese, the Dutch, and Other Europeans, 1590-1800

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What was the cultural impact of early meetings between Chinese and Europeans? This book explores visual, literary, and scholarly representations of the Celestial Empire and Western countries against the backdrop of actual encounters. Based on rare Chinese and, correspondingly, European (especially Dutch) sources and archival documents, the volume covers a range of cultural expressions from the applied arts to philosophy. Special attention goes to the ideals and realities of trade and diplomacy of the Dutch East India Company in China. Foreign Devils and Philosophers approaches global history from a cultural perspective and illuminates the reciprocal dynamic of aversion and admiration: Chinese and Westerners could appear as sages or savages in each other’s eyes.

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Thijs Weststeijn is Professor of Art History before 1800 at Utrecht University, where he chairs the research projects Histories of Global Netherlandish Art, 1550-1750 and The Chinese Impact: Images and Ideas of China in the Dutch Golden Age.
All interested in the history of exchanges between China and Europe, and more generally in cultural history from a global perspective.