Dolors Folch

Dolors Folch

Dolors Folch Fornesa has been professor of China history in the Pompeu Fabra University for the last twenty five years.
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  • 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.