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Journal > Volumes > 40 (2009) / 2 (Summer)
The Reception of Evangelicae Historiae Imagines in Late Ming China: Visualizing Holy Topography in Jesuit Spirituality and Pure Land Buddhism
Junhyoung Michael Shin
Myongji University, Seoul

This essay explores the receptive potential of Evangelicae Historiae Imagines (Antwerp, 1593) in the context of Buddhist devotional culture in China. I argue that EHI, a meditative manual expounding the Jesuits’ exquisite methodology of visually oriented contemplation, could be eagerly received and fully functional among its Chinese audience, which was already familiar with a similar tradition drawn from the Sutra of the Contemplation of the Infinite-Age Buddha [ 觀無量壽經] (Guanwuliangshoujing) of Pure Land Buddhism. In 1637 the Jesuit missionary Giulio Aleni published Tianzhu Jiangsheng Chuxiang Jingjie [ 天主降生出像經解] (Explanation of the incarnation and life of the Heavenly Lord) in Fuzhou, Fujian province of southern China. Aleni’s book was a Chinese woodcut reproduction and translation of EHI. It was reprinted in multiple editions throughout the following centuries and circulated far beyond the southern Fujian province.

Pages: 303 - 333