Dolors Folch

Dolors Folch

Dolors Folch Fornesa has been professor of China history in the Pompeu Fabra University for the last twenty five years.
Personal website
https://www.upf.edu/web/dolors-folch

Activity

  • It could be Taishan, in Shandong province. But any other of the Chinese sacred mountains would also be possible, because all of them have shrines on the top and thousands of stairs to climb them.

  • Yes, Vesna, the Past is an important part of Contemporary China, specially in social values

  • The Spanish interest was focused on America, not on the East

  • That was it, Nagesvari. Ricci completely identified himself with the scholar class and, like them, he detested eunuchs and buddhists

  • Living fish was brought up rivers in salt water

  • A good choice, Maia!

  • Hi, Vesna. Agriculture, metallurgy, scholarship and a great emphasis on trade, to copy your words, will survive of course in the long run (think for instance of Germany, almost anihilatered in 1945, and of its quick resurgence). War killing is mostly indiscriminate and once the war is finished the proportion of peasants, craftsmen, engineers and so on...

  • It is exactly as ypu say, Linda: the Manchus invented themselves.

  • You are right Margaret, but that is what comes in the next lesson.

  • Maia, think a bit about the huge power of Catholic priests in West history. Do you think they had a cohesive network? And did the lack of sex - and of descendance - made them more trustworthy? Some of them gathered inmense fortunes?

  • Nothing is eternal and by 19th c the civil service of the well organized and highly controlled Chinese society lacked the flexibility to adapt to the rapid social and world changes: that was a decisive cause of the great divergence. In comparison, Japan, who had never adopted the Chinese civil service with its examinations, didn't had the dead weight of a...

  • You are right to be puzzled, Nagesvari. But notice that all saving devicews had to do with hidraulics, and that the Chinese were highly prominent in this field. Harnessing the rivers had given them a thorough knowledge of water potential.

  • Hi, Nagesvari. Coastal China elaborated salt exactly as you explain. But China being huge and very continental, they had to devise methods to mine salt.

  • In 2010, many excellent books on Ricci were published, to celebrate the 4th centenary of his death. Two of them, Po.Chia Hsia "A Jesuit in the forbidden city", and Michaela Fontana "Matteo Ricci" are really worth reading, and are excellent academic books. But if you don't have enough time, or are on vacation like Victor, I would highly recommend you the most...

  • Certainly the castrati existed in Italy, but they had no political functions as the eunuchs did. On the other hand, even if Ricci never said it, I feel that for the Jesuits, who had taken to chastity as a religious vow, castration might have been felt as a short cut to sexual abstinency, despicably devoid of its religious significance.

  • Hi, Margaret. Nagesvari is right. I will only add that the number 40.000 or so is a bit too persistant for my taste: Marco Polo had it already. So, it might be a stereotype.

  • It is not forbidden. But Chinese art is not interested in light, as western art is.

  • Thanks, Helen. You are a fine and sensible student, you always make an effort to understand the problems of other students and make an effective effort to solve them .

  • Hi, Maia. Even if the most widespread aspect of the Jesuit's China mission is their presence in the court's circles, they also set missions in the coastal areas, mainly in Fujian, where they converted ordinary Chinese.

  • about the same time as the Spanish, the Jesuits, Ruggieri, also compounded immediately a Chinese-Portuguese dictionnary, in the thematic line of the first Spanish ones. Sometime after the Varo's dictionary, at the beginning of the 18th century, a Chinese-French dictionary was published, by Arcadio Huang (a convert Chinese) and the French scholar Nicolas...

  • Hi, Juande. About the linguistic achievements of these missionaries. The first Spanish-Chinese dictionaries were written in the Philippines, and were based on the Chinese spoken language (Hokkien) of its overseas Chinese community from Fujian. The first of such dictionaries was written by Martín de Rada before 1578, "Arte y Vocabuario de la lengua china", a...

  • Hi, you all in this trend. The crucifixion was a sensitive point for all missionaries in China: the criminal nature of the punishment alienated the Chinese, because it put Jesus at a culprit level. But, as I said some days earlier, missionaries couldn't leave it completely aside, because the suffering and its redempting properties is a core point of...

  • The Jesuits in China were fierce oponents of the Spanish colonial approach to China. Bit even so, some Jesuits, like Alonso Sánchez, from the Philippines, were enthusiastic proponents of the conquest of China. Ricci and the other Jesuits in China thoroughly despised this current.

  • Hi, Reza. Ruggieri and Ricci learnt Chinese from the Chinese catechumens coming to the Jesuit church in Macau. Even if Ruggieri was able to write the first catechism in Chinese, Ricci attained a much more higher level and he plunged with unmatched interest in the Chinese Classical books.

  • Hi, Rohan. Mnemonic techniques were quite usual in medieval and Renaissance times, and Ricci was taught them.

  • Hi, Vesna. As far as the China mission is concerned, Rada was a loser and Ricci a winner. But both were outstanding personalities. Rada found himself in the midst of a colonial enterprise that he disapproved, while Ricci could pursue his goal without colonial external interferences.

  • Hi, Helen. Castiglione paintings are no doubt very interesting, but his biography is a very complex one. He arrived in China when the rites controversy was raging, and most missionaries were in dire straits. The intervention of the Pope against the accomodation approach of the Jesuits had enraged Kangxi, who finnaly forced the missionaries to sign their...

  • Hi, Rohan, we'll talk about the Blaeu map next week. He was a wonderful cartographer, gthe best of his time.
    Ricci's map is really puzzling. To begin with he certainly used a variety of sources, not just Ortelius, because most of the features already occur in Mercator's great planisphere of 1569. Furthermore, for both the general contours of land and sea his...

  • The Ming version of the Qingming shanghe tu is generally attributed to Qiu Ying, who died by mid 16th century. So, before the Jesuit arrival. In any case, these scrolls were not at all seen by the general public. Some court Jesuits could have had access to them, but it would have been the 17th and 18th c ones, who lived in the court and hold high positions...

  • Hi, Victor. Not having a local name for God was a very serious problem, that took time to grasp. Certainly the Chinese had invented names to designate divinities, but they had not a single character for them, all were compound terms. First they thought of calling it Shangdi, 上帝, the Emperor Above, but that identified too much Christ with an ancient Shang...

  • Hi, you all. Helen has the right answer. Confucianism is the core of Chinese society, but it is not treated at all as a religion. For the Jesuits it was convenient to do so because they wanted to show to Europe the importance of education for conducting civil affairs.

  • Nestorians never spread widely amonst the general population: theirs was a religion of foreign traders. SAnd they were so highly favoured by the Mongols that in fact they vanished with them.

  • The initial identification of the Jesuits with Buddhist monks was a natural move, since at the moment Buddhism was the only current Chinese religious in which they could recognise a religious impulse. They even introduced themselves as "monks from India", and in fact they came from Goa. Ruggieri, who had been the first to enter China, was quite at ease with...

  • Hi, Helen. This cemetery is weird! Today it stands in the backyard of a huge Formative Communist school for cadres, and no notice of it being at the entrance of the compound it is not easy to find. But the Chinse know its value: China's Premier, Zhou Enlai, personally prevented its destruction, closing the small Jesuit cemetery to the Red Guards.

  • Hi, Susan. Whatever one thinks about the Jesuits (and different protestant or catholic backgrounds provide very different angles to look at them) Matteo Ricci deserves the respect: and so the Chinese paid him, his name appears in numerous xiaopin (vignettes) and they always emphasise his eloquence, writing and special skills.

  • Hi, Zoe. The Jesuits were Renaissance men, totally engrossed in Europe's and Christianity's superiority. They believed that, if they convinced the Japanese or Chinese of the superiority of Europe in scientific and artistic matters, conversion will naturally follow. To convert them they needed funds and, because they didn't depend directly of any European state...

  • Hi, Margaret. China, and formerly Japan, became the jewel of the crown for them because the Jesuits dreamt of the prize to convert the whole East Asia: the Pope gave them for decades the exclusivity to do so. And when this opportunity vanished, they used their Chinese mission to induce a political change in Europe: the Enlightenment is indebted to their...

  • Hi, Andy. Rada and Loarca give a very detailed information about Chinese army. As you suspect, it was huge: Rada gives the number of 4.678.500 for infantry and 780.000 for cavalry, and he details how many were serving in each province

  • Not at all, Andy. Boxer is the surname of a very distinguished historian, and the Boxer rebellion was the name (in fact a misname) given by the English to a Chinese mouvement because many of its members had been practitioners of the martial arts, such as boxing.

  • Hi, Heather. As far as we know ( and there are quite a lot of documents about it, bith Spanish and Chinese) the massacres were quite indiscriminate and almost all the Manila Chinese lost their lives.

  • If you lived in Spain you'll understand this crystal clear. Spanish people haven't been used to a strong recpect for the law, so they often have no intention to comply with it. But, to avoid problems with authorities they say that they certainly will. Certainly the state often defends itself, but when it is far away like was the case in America, or when it is...

  • They were shocked by the way they treated women, by lovers touching or kissing themselves in public, by the fact that they used hanbkerchiefs and stored their mucus in their pocket, by their exhibition of swords, by they eating with their hands, and so on.

  • Hi Victor. There is a very recent and much more cheaper edition of the Boxer code, bilingual in original Spanish and modern English, with all the illustrations in beautiful colours. "Boxer Codex", Isaac Donoso (ed.) Quezon city, Vibal foundation, 2016.

  • Not necessarily Chinese! They copied the idea, that was all.

  • i, Linda. You are right: Rada only traveled trough a limited area of China, and a peculiar one by the way because it had benn sinicised relatively late.

  • Even if the Instructions were widely circulated in America and its influence is easy to ascertain in a number of minor Relations of the last third of the century, its influence on the Relations coming from China is rather misty: the Instructions arrived hardly on time to influence those Relations, and in any case, the only16th century official expedition that...

  • Hi, Linda. The European tendency to methodise the travel narratives also entered Spain. In 1571, a well known humanist, Velasco, who had just been appointed to the position of chronicler and cosmographer, undertook the task of putting in order the enormous amount of information that was arriving from the New Worlds in order to create a general guideline that...

  • Well, those massacres were similar to those suffered by the Chinese colonist in Dutch colony of Jakarta. They were prompted by the fear produced by the huge numbers of the Chinese when compared to the European colonists. In the 1603 case the Spanish panic was fuelled by the fear of being invaded by the Chinese with the complicity of the sangleys.

  • Hi, Zoe. Nao is a Spanish word, similar to navío: both come from the latin navis. In 16th century it was also applied to a certain type of boat.

  • Hi, Alain. No bed of mercury for the First Emperor. But Sima Qian's text (written a century after the Emperor's death) says that rivers of mercury had been carved in his tomb to reproduce the Chinese rivers. The tomb remains unopened, but an unusual amount of mercury has been detected there.

  • The Valladolid debate is highly interesting and has been strongly publicized. But keep in mind that there were other events that helped to deterre the idea of further conquests: the disaster of the Invincible Armada was certainly one of them.

  • Sorry, Victor I have a copy of the Boxer Codex and I don't see any seal. The two characters 谟区 correspond to Boxer's name

  • Most of them are certainly equivalent to the Christian saints, but some others have a special status as legendary figures: that is the case of Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, who is also a mytical first sovereign and a cultural hero. In the actual move of the Chinese state to revive Chinese traditions, Jiang Zhemin stated in a 1st october celebration "we...

  • Hi, Margaret. According to Christian tradition, mostly two third century documents - Eusebius' record and the Syriac Acts of Thomas -, Thomas the Apostle first established Christianity in the Parthian Empire (Iran) and then proceeded to India where he preached to the Jewish communities of the Coromandel and Malabar coasts. At the end he was condemned to...

  • Hi, Victor. Rada was part of a strong party in America's friars that were very critical on the methods of the Spanish conquest. The conflict between the conquerors and the friars' elite in America was a really disturbing one: severe critics like fray Bartolomé Las Casas or fray Alonso de Veracruz (who was Rada's mentor) fervently opposed the theory of the...

  • Hi, Victor and Vesna. As far as we know, the Ming code was strictly applied, and all the dispositions aiming at a fair judgement are in the code. 18th century Europeans - and mostly 19th c - were srtong at critizising it, but for 16th c observers it was definitely much better, fair and compasive than theirs.

  • The emperor not only had absolute power, but also religious power. All Chinese loyalties had to be focused on him: a dream that still haunts Xi Jinping

  • Hi, Alain. Certainly the Qin code made a start, and it was thoroughly copied by the Han empire and those that followed. But the Tang issued a new code and the Song enlarged it and added a big surplus of jurisprudence. And that was the code that the Ming inherited

  • I've been looking in Amazon or in the web (the Gutenberg edition) for a modern version of Mendoza's book, but they all follow the Parke 1854 translation. Maybe the Gutenberg is the most readable no so for its language but for the whiteness of the background.

  • Hi, Margaret. People with a canga were left wandering in the streets, because they couldn't even feed themselves (the habds didn't reach the mouth) and to rely on their families or in public charity. They were often seen in marketplaces. As for the death by a thousand cuts,in view of our suject, The European discovery of China, the relevant point in Dueñas'...

  • Hi, Victor. The problem for the missionaries was that they couldn’t do away with the crucifixion, because it was with it that Christianity defined itself from the very start. If Pilate would have absolved Christ and let him live a long and peaceful life, Christianity could have become a sect similar to the many other that at the moment pullulated in Palestine....

  • Hi Margaret. To clarify the "Writing devil episode" in Tordesillas narrative: For our rational 21th century mentalities, Tordesillas saw a crew in dire straits invoking the spirits of the storm menacing them. That's what the Franciscans were probably doing also at the same time, praying to saints and God. But he qualified the Chinese spirits in a very bad...

  • It was a status symbol, that pervaded European aesthetics. 17th c kings went around under a canopy, and so was the Holy Sacrament when taken around in procession.

  • Keep in mind also the disproportion: XVI c Castile had a population of 4 million, and China of 150 millions, mostly concentratd in the south, where Rada and the otherIberians travelers were. No wonder all traveleres were dumbfounded at the Chinese population!

  • I think that both him and Ricci some years later didn't appreciate at all the river ships, and that they missed the strong sea navy that could be found by then in Mediterranean countries.

  • Hi, Maia. Basically the Four Books, that is the Classics of Confucianism, and all the commentaries appended to them. That nade them educated Chinese and they could draw on the Classics' examples to justify their sentences. The CV served to form gentlemen loyal to the state. They also had to show that they could write poetry and paint.

  • Hi, Margaret. Neither did they allow books to be taken away from China.

  • The king of Spain didn't ban weaponry because he couldn't. It took centuries - in Spain and elsewhere - to curb the aristocrats: and only then could weapons be forbidden.

  • Thanks, Linda! A very interesting comment!

  • Hi, Rohan. All the narratives of the Spanish expeditions (in English) through the Pacific can be found in Blair & Robertson, "The Philippine islands" (Volume II, 1528-1569), now available as an e-book in Gutenberg. Pigaffeta's rendering of the Magellan expedition is also available in Kindle-book, both in the original Italian and English. You have the links in...

  • Stealing the natives - of their land or of their richess - was not a collateral accident: those voyages were made in the search for profit. The death toll of the natives was frightening, in part due to terrible epidemics, in part to the stubborn cruelty of the Spanish when forcing the natives to work in the fields and in the mines in a way and at a pace that...

  • I hope you feel better in a short time. Don't worry for the course. During the weekend I'll go over again to the whole course. This week is exceptionnally heavy, but I hope that you'l be able to catch anyhow.

  • Yes, Zoe, but it was in comparison with theirs that Iberian people looked at Chinese justice: the Spanish Imperial bureaucracy was as cumbersome as inefficient in many ways, because it was convivial with all kind of previous institutions that retained their privileges. They claimed unity, and pushed for unification in all spheres, but that was only achieved...

  • Hi, Vesna. To return to the population question: Chinese population growth and its hindering effects on the personal welfare of the people was signaled by all European observers. Portuguese and Castilian, and after them, the Jesuits, all pointed to the fact that China was rich but the Chinese were poor because the Chinese were so many. Even among the Chinese,...

  • Woman adultery was a terrible crime because it cast doubt upon paternity in her own family and erode the cornerstone of Chinese society. Seen from this angle, male adultery was so irrelevant that it wasn't even considered to be an offence.

  • Dueñas was probably from the city of Dueñas, in Palencia's province. Flandes wqs at that moment the richest part of the Spanish empire, that's why he compared Canton with it.

  • We'll come later to another scroll that is full of beggars.

  • Victor you'l find videos about the books that Rada brought, bought and wrote in the To learn more in depth section. I had to put them there because this week has an impossible density.

  • I can only answere that when I first went tto China in 1980, I had the impression of not only having landed in a different world but in a different century. Even with the harsh polities at use in that moment, traditional China surfaced everywhere.

  • (sorry, it went out!) three harvest per year, population soared. Other factor contributed, as many of you say, like early marriage, but the decisive factor was that east asians were better fed. Technology also multiplied the food available. I would leave Egypt out of the comparison, because the fringe of land was very thin.

  • Hi, Vesna, Your question about population is certainly intersting, and so is the discussion that it has aroused. I'll rather side with Maia, on behalf of rice. In fact, Chinese population grew at a speed rate from the moment that its population distribution changed and the highest density fell to the south. In Han times, when the north prevailed (with its...

  • Well, he was mainly interested in judiciary astrology, that was a synonymous of astrology, very usual in 16th century.

  • The essential point about not having arms at home is that in China the state had the monopoly of violence, a situation like the actual European one. On the contrary, in 16th c Europe, acts of revenge were usual, specially amongst the elites.

  • Hi, Nagesvari. Private weapons had been banned in China since 221 BCE. Only soldiers, pirates and bandits had them.

  • An excellent article about the hard work of the Chinese is Stefan Harrel's "Why do the Chinese work so hard?"

  • Hi, Zoe, you are very fine! They certainly had south China in mind.

  • Hi, Nagesvari. He certainly was! His "own country" was enormous at the moment and the Netherlands fighted fiercely against the occupying Spanish! And even in Castille, rebellions were not unknown: in 1520 the Communities rebellion had completely shaken the crown.