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European Turned Ivories at the Chinese Imperial Court: A Study in Early Modern Cross-Cultural Knowledge Transmission (1617-1735)

Abstract

In the early 2000s, the Palace Museum in Beijing discovered various early modern European lathe-turned objects in the museum’s storage spaces. Fruitful and understudied, such works offer valuable entry points for interrogating cross-cultural exchanges of artisanal, mathematical, scientific, and medicinal knowledge. By providing a chronological history of the known European turned works that entered the Ming and Qing Chinese imperial collections, as well as examining the Jesuit missionaries employed by the court of the Kangxi Emperor (1661-1722), this paper investigates exchanges of artisanal and mathematical knowledge between sixteenth and eighteenth-century China and Europe.

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Zhou, J., (2020) “European Turned Ivories at the Chinese Imperial Court: A Study in Early Modern Cross-Cultural Knowledge Transmission (1617-1735)”, Essays in History 54(1), 1-22. doi: https://doi.org/10.25894/eih.54

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Joyce Yusi Zhou (Yale University)

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