Candida Xu (granddaughter) (Xu Zhun) (Xu Maheux)
SECOND ALTERNATIVE CHINESE NAME
THIRD ALTERNATIVE CHINESE NAME
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS CHINESE TEXT. Without proper rendering
support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead
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This is a
Chinese name ; the family name is Xu .
XU GUANGQI (April 24, 1562 – November 8, 1633), also known by his
baptismal name PAUL, was a Chinese scholar-bureaucrat , Catholic
convert , agricultural scientist, astronomer, and mathematician under
Ming Dynasty . Xu was a colleague and collaborator of the Italian
Matteo Ricci and
Sabatino de Ursis and assisted their
translation of several classic Western texts into Chinese, including
Euclid 's Elements . He was also the author of the Nong Zheng
Quan Shu, a treatise on agriculture. He was one of the "Three Pillars
of Chinese Catholicism ". His current title is
Servant of God .
* 1 Name
* 2 Life
* 3 Legacy
* 4 Works
* 4.1 Military sciences
* 4.2 Mathematics
* 4.3 Astronomy
* 4.4 Agriculture
* 5 Family
* 6 See also
* 7 Notes
* 8 References
* 8.1 Citations
* 8.2 Bibliography
* 9 Further reading
* 10 External links
Xu Guangqi is the pinyin romanization of the Mandarin pronunciation
of Xu's Chinese name. It was formerly written HSü KUANG-CH‘I using
Wade–Giles system. His courtesy name was ZIXIAN and his penname
was XUANHU. In the Jesuits' records, it is the last which is used as
his Chinese name, in the form "Siù Hsven Hú".
At his conversion , he adopted the baptismal name Paul (Latin :
Paulus). In Chinese, its transcription is employed as a kind of
courtesy name (i.e., Xu Baolu) and the Jesuits sometimes referred to
him as "Siù Pao Lò" or Ciù Paulus. More often, however, they
describe him as "Doctor Paul" (Latin : Doctor Paulus; Portuguese :
Doutor Paulo), "Our Paul" (Latin : noster Paulus), or "Paul Siu" or
Xu Guangqi was born in
Shanghai in Southern Zhili 's Songjiang
Prefecture on April 24, 1562, under
Ming dynasty . At the
Shanghai was merely a small walled county seat in the old
quarter around the present city's
Yu Garden . His family, including an
older and younger sister, lived in the Taiqing Quarter at the south
end of the town. Guangqi's branch of the Xus were not related to those
who had passed the imperial examinations and joined Shanghai's local
gentry . His father Xu Sicheng (died c. 1607) had been orphaned at
age 5 and seen most of his inheritance lost to "Japanese" pirate raids
and insolvent friends in the 1550s.
At the time of Guangqi's birth, his father worked twenty mu (1¼ ha )
or less south of the city wall. About half of this would have been
used to feed the family, with the rest used to supplement his income
from small-scale trading. By the time Guangqi was 6, the family had
saved enough to send him to a local school, where a later hagiographer
records him piously upbraiding his classmates when they spoke of
wanting to use their education for wealth or mystical power. Instead,
he supposedly advised, "None of these things is worth doing. If you
want to talk about the sort of person you want to become, then it
should be to establish yourself and to follow the Way . Bring order to
the state and the people. Revere the orthodox and expose the
heterodox. Don't waste the chance to be someone who matters in this
world." From 1569 to 1573, the family sent Guangqi to the school at
Buddhist monastery at Longhua . It is not recorded, but this
school was probably a separate secular and fee-based institution for
families too poor to hire private tutors for their sons.
His mother died on May 8, 1592, and he undertook the ritual mourning
period in her honor. His whereabouts over the next few years are
uncertain but he seems to have failed the provincial exam at Beijing
in 1594, after the mourning period was over.
In 1596, he moved to
Xunzhou (now Guiping) in
Guangxi to assist its
prefect Zhao Fengyu , a
Shanghai native who had passed the juren exams
in 1555. The next year, he traveled to
Beijing in the spring and
passed its provincial exam , becoming a juren. He seems to have
stayed there for the imperial exam the next year, but failed to pass.
He then returned to
Shanghai around April, turning his attention to
the study of military and agricultural subjects. The next year he
Cheng Jiasui . The Italian
Jesuit Matteo Ricci
(left) and the Chinese mathematician
Xu Guangqi (right) in an image
Athanasius Kircher 's
China Illustrata, published in 1667. The
Chinese edition of Euclid\'s Elements (幾何原本), was printed in
He first met
Matteo Ricci , the Italian
Jesuit , in
Nanjing in March
or April of 1600. He collaborated with Ricci in translating several
classic Western texts—most notably the first part of
Elements —into Chinese, as well as several Chinese Confucian texts
into Latin . Ricci's influence led to Xu being baptized as a Roman
Catholic in 1603. His descendants remained Catholics or Protestants
into the 21st century..
From 1607 until 1610, Xu was forced to retire from public office and
returned to his home in Shanghai. It was during this time that he
experimented with Western-style irrigation methods. He also
experimented with the cultivation of sweet potatoes , cotton, and the
nu zhen tree. He was called once more to serve the Chinese
bureaucracy, where he rose to a high rank and became known late in his
career simply as "The Minister". Yet he continued to experiment and
learn of new agricultural practices while he served his office,
promoting the use of wet-rice in the Northeast of China. From 1613
until 1620 he often visited
Tianjin , where he helped organize
self-sufficient military settlements (tun tian).
In 1629, memorials by Xu and his fellow convert Leo Li successfully
moved the court to permit the Portuguese captain Gonçalo
Teixeira-Correa to bring 10 artillery pieces and 4 "excellent
China to the capital to demonstrate the effectiveness
of Western artillery . An earlier demonstration in 1623 had gone
disastrously, with an exploding cannon killing one Portuguese
artillerist and three Chinese observers, but on this occasion the
pieces were accepted and directed to Dengzhou (now Penglai) in
Shandong . The Christian convert Ignatius Sun , a protégé of Xu's,
was governor there and had also been a strong advocate of modernizing
China's military. Together with Captain Teixeira and his translator
João Rodrigues , Sun used the pieces to train his troops to oppose
the ongoing Manchu invasion . However, Sun's lenient treatment of a
1632 mutiny under Kong Yude and
Geng Zhongming permitted them to
successfully capture Dengzhou, seize the artillery, and establish an
independent power base that eventually joined the Manchus. Xu's
memorials for clemency were unsuccessful and Sun was court-martialed
He held the positions of Minister of Rites (禮部尙書), overseeing
government programs related to culture, education, and foreign
affairs, and Deputy Senior
Grand Secretary (內閣次輔), effectively
a deputy premier for the imperial cabinet.
Johann Adam Schall von Bell stayed with Xu during his final illness
in 1633 and oversaw the return of his body to his family in Shanghai.
There, it was publicly displayed at his villa until 1641, when it was
buried "in a time of hardship".
Xu's tomb in Shanghai's Guangqi Park
Xu Guangqi's tomb remains the centerpiece of Shanghai's Guangqi Park
on Nandan Road (南丹路), just south of
Xujiahui Cathedral .
The 350th anniversary of his death in 1983 was celebrated very
publicly, both with ceremonies in
Shanghai and a laudatory article in
Beijing Review . The vocal Communist support for these memorials
has been seen as signaling support for
Deng Xiaoping 's policies of
opening up and modernizing China. Most Chinese treatments of his life
and legacy, however, focus upon his desire for scientific,
technological, and political progress and its effect upon Chinese
development, whereas western treatments nearly universally attach
great importance to his Christian conversion and identity.
Xu Guangqi's work on military matters Cook Xu's words.
Guangxi was especially worried about the ability of his country to
defend itself, especially in the face of the threat of invasion from
the Manchus. He wrote a book on military techniques and strategies
entitled Cook Xu's Words in response to the criticisms he faced for
daring discuss military matters in spite of being a mere scholar. He
frequently cited the Xunzi and Guanzi , and made use of rewards and
punishments along the lines of the Legalists , at least in relief
Xu Guangqi put forward the concept of a "Rich Country and Strong
Army" (富國強兵), which would be adopted by Japan for its
modernization in the end of the 19th century, under the name Fukoku
In 1607, Xu and Ricci translated the first parts of Euclid\'s
Elements into Chinese, introducing his countrymen to new concepts in
mathematics and Western logic. Chinese scholars credit Xu as having
"started China's enlightenment".
Introduction to Astronomy, translated by Xu guangqi, and edited
Li Zhizao .
After followers of Xu and Ricci publicly predicted a solar eclipse in
1629, Xu was appointed by the Emperor as the leader of an effort to
Chinese calendar . The reform, which constituted the first
major collaboration between scientists from Europe and from the Far
East, was completed after his death.
Xu Guangqi wrote the Nong Zheng Quan Shu, an outstanding agricultural
treatise that followed in the tradition of those such as Wang Zhen
(wrote the Wang Zhen Nong Shu of 1313 AD) and Jia Sixia (wrote the Chi
Min Yao Shu of 535 AD). Like Wang Zhen, Xu lived in troubled times,
and was devoted as a patriot to aiding the rural farmers of China.
His main interests were in irrigation , fertilizers , famine relief,
economic crops, and empirical observation with early notions of
chemistry . It was an enormous written work, some 700,000 written
Chinese characters , making it 7 times as large as the work of both
Jia Sixia and Wang Zhen. Although its final draft was unfinished by
Xu Guangqi by the time of his death in 1633, the famous Jiangnan
scholar Chen Zilung assembled a group of scholars to edit the draft,
publishing it in 1639. A Portuguese translation of "Doctor
Paul"'s letter to the king of Portugal.
The topics covered by his book are as follows:
* The Fundamentals of Agriculture (Nong Ben): quotations from the
classics on the importance of encouraging agriculture
* Field System (Tian Zhi): land distribution, field management
* Agricultural Tasks (Nong Shi): clearing land, tilling; also a
detailed exposition on settlement schemes
* Water Control (Shui Li): various methods of irrigation, types of
irrigation equipment, and the last two chapters devoted to new
Western-style irrigation equipment
* Illustrated Treatise on Agricultural Implements (Nong Chi Tu Pu):
based largely on Wang Zhen's book of 1313 AD
* Horticulture (Shi Yi): vegetables and fruit
* Sericulture (Can Sang): silk production
* Further Textile Crops (Can Sang Guang Lei): cotton, hemp, etc.
* Silviculture (Chong Chi): forestry preservation
* Animal Husbandry (Mu Yang)
* Culinary Preparations (Zhi Zao)
Famine Control (Huang Zheng): administrative measures, famine
Paul Xu (bottom left) and his granddaughter Candida (bottom
right), along with Ricci , Schall , and Verbiest (top row)
Xu's only son was John Xu (t 徐驥, s 徐骥,
Xú Jì), whose
daughter was Candida Xu (徐甘第大,
Xú Gāndìdà; 1607–1680). A
devout Christian, she was recognized as an important patron of
Jiangnan during the early Qing era. The Jesuit
Philippe Couplet , who worked closely with her, composed her biography
in Latin. This was published in French translation as A History of the
Christian Lady of China, Candide Hiu (Histoire d'une Dame Chrétienne
de la Chine, Candide Hiu) in 1688. Her son was Basil Xu, who served
as an official under the Qing .
* Catholicism portal
* History of Imperial
* Biography portal
Xu Guangqi Memorial Hall
* Roman Catholicism in
Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism
History of agriculture
History of agriculture
* ^ On occasion,
Jesuit records or their translators also
completely misconstrue Xu's name, giving it as "Lij Paulus", "Ly
Paul", or "Li Paul".
* ^ A B C Dudink (2001) , p. 399.
* ^ Dudink & 2001 (409) .
* ^ Liam Matthew Brockey, Journey to the East: The
to China, 1579–1724 (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard
University Press, 2008), 59.
* ^ A B Dudink (2001) , p. 400.
* ^ Liam Matthew Brockey, Journey to the East: The
to China, 1579–1724 (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard
University Press, 2008), 140.
* ^ A B Liam Matthew Brockney, Journey to the East: The Jesuit
Mission to China, 1579–1724 (cambridge: The Belknap press of Harvard
University Press , 2008),140.
* ^ http://www.dartmouth.edu/~qing/WEB/HSU_KUANG-CH\'I.html
* ^ Roman Catholic Diocese of
* ^ A B C D E Blue (2001) , p. 48.
* ^ A B Blue (2001) , p. 33.
* ^ A B Blue (2001) , p. 44.
* ^ Vasconcelos (2012) , p. 163.
* ^ A B C D E Blue (2001) , p. 45.
* ^ Blue (2001) , p. 49.
* ^ A B C Brook (2001) , p. 93.
* ^ Blue (2001) , p. 35.
* ^ Wilkinson (2000) , p. 243.
* ^ A B C Brook (2001) , p. 94.
* ^ Clunas (1996) , p. 40.
* ^ A B C D E F G Dudink (2001) , p. 402.
* ^ A B C D Stone (2007) .
* ^ A B C D E F Needham (1984) , p. 65.
* ^ Chan (1976) , p. 1147.
* ^ A B Fang (1944) .
* ^ Blue (2001) , pp. 42–3.
* ^ A B Blue (2001) , p. 19.
Xu Guangqi Memorial Hall permanent exhibit
* ^ Smith (2009) , p. 252.
* ^ Needham (1984) , pp. 64–5.
* ^ A B C Needham (1984) , p. 66.
* ^ Mungello (1989) , pp. 253–254.
* Blue, Gregory (2001), "
Xu Guangqi in the West: Early Jesuit
Sources and the Construction of an Identity", Statecraft &
Intellectual Renewal in Late Ming China: The Cross-Cultural Synthesis
Xu Guangqi (1562–1633), Sinica Leidensia, Vol. 50, Leiden: Brill,
pp. 19–71 .
* Brook, Timothy (2001), "
Xu Guangqi in His Context: The World of
Shanghai Gentry", Statecraft & Intellectual Renewal in Late Ming
* Chan, Albert (1976), "João Rodrígues", Dictionary of Ming
Biography, 1368–1644, Vol. II: M–Z, New York: Columbia University
Press, pp. 1145–47 .
* Clunas, Craig (1996), Fruitful Sites: Garden Culture in Ming
Dynasty China, Envisioning Asia, London: Reaktion Books .
* Dudink, Adrianus Cornelis (2001), "Xu Guangqi's Career: An
Annotated Chronology", Statecraft & Intellectual Renewal in Late Ming
* Wilkinson, Endymion Porter (2000), Chinese History: A Manual,
Cambridge : Harvard University Asia Center for the Harvard–Yenching
* Fang Zhaoying (1944), "Sun Yüan-hua", Eminent Chinese of the
Ch‘ing Period (1644–1912), Vol. II: P–Z, Washington : Government
Printing Office, p. 686 .
* Mungello, David E. (1989), Curious Land:
Jesuit Accommodation and
the Origins of Sinology, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, ISBN
* Needham, Joseph (1984), Science and Civilisation in China, Vol.
VI: Biology and Biological Technology, Part 2: Agriculture, Cambridge
: Cambridge University Press .
* Smith, Joanna Handlin (2009), The Art of Doing Good: Charity in
* Stone, Richard (2007), "Scientists Fete China's Supreme Polymath",
Science , Vol. 318, p. 733 .
* Vasconcelos de Saldanha, António (2012), "The Last Imperial
Honours: From Tomás Pereira to the Eulogium Europeorum Doctorum in
1711", In the Light and Shadow of an Emperor: Tomás Pereira, SJ
(1645–1708), the Kangxi Emperor, and the
Jesuit Mission in China,
Newcastle : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 144–227 .
* Needham, Joseph (1959). Science and Civilisation in China: Volume
3, Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; reprinted: Taipei: Caves Books,
* Zhao, Jikai, "Xu Guangqi". Encyclopedia of
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* Mei, Rongzhao, "Xue Guangqi". Encyclopedia of
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