|See CSJC ed.|
“....Yuanjing shuo 遠鏡說 (Explanation of
the Telescope, 1626), by Schall, which contained the first account of the Tychonic world system in Chinese..” Cf. Standaert, Handbook of Christianity in China, v.1, p. 714.
Full bibliographic citation see: Ad Dudink & Nicolas Standaert, Chinese Christian Texts Database (CCT-Database).
JapSin II, 39.2
Yuanjing shuo 遠鏡說.
By Tang Ruowang 湯若望 (Johann Adam Schall von Bell).
The text was put into Chinese with the help of Li Zubai 李祖白. One juan, one ce. Bamboo paper. No date or place of publication.
The cover bears a label with the title and a Latin inscription: “Explicatio tubi optici, | seu telescopii | a p. Adam Schall | S.J.”There is a preface written by Schall himself, dated Tianqi 6 (1626). At the end of the preface there is a seal with the emblem of the Society of Jesus in ink. The table of contents consists of one and one-half folios; the verso of folio 2 contains an illustration of a telescope. Folio 1 gives the title of the book and the author’s name: 西洋湯若望著.
There are nine columns in each half folio with 18 characters in each column. The whole text consists of twenty-one folios, including illustrations. The title of the book is given in the middle of each folio; below the fish tail the number of the folio is given.
This is a book on the telescope. Zheng Zhongkui 鄭仲夔 (fl. 1630) in his book Ershi 耳食 (Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, no. 2946), juan 8 (p. 53), tells of the telescope brought to China by Matteo Ricci which, after the death of Ricci, was taken to Nanzhou 南州 by one of his followers and many people had the chance to see it. The telescope Ricci brought to China must have been of an older type, since the new telescope improved by Galileo did not appear until 1610. Manuel Dias in his Tianwen lüe 天文略 (1615) refers to the new telescope saying that it can reach a distance of sixty miles and mentions that Galileo, a European scholar, was a fully qualified astronomer. Finally he says: “We shall explain in detail the wonder of this instrument, when we have it brought to China.” This condition was realized on the arrival of Adam Schall in 1622. In 1627, a year after Schall had written his book on the telescope, Philip Wang Zheng 王徵 wrote the Yuanxi qiqi tushuo lu zui 遠西奇器圖說錄最 (cf. Jap-Sin II, 53). In the bibliography Wang Zheng mentions the Yuanjing shuo. He did his best to explain the structure of the telescope, its employment in astronomy, in sea voyages, and in warfare. According to Pfister (p. 180, no. 12) the Yuanjing shuo was published in Beijing in 1630, and Fang Hao (1954, vol. 4, pp. 21–22) says that Schall made his translation from Girolamo Sirturi’s Telescopio (Frankfurt, 1616).
Source: Albert Chan, S.J., Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, p. 326.