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Brevis relatio eorum, quae spectant ad Declarationem Sinarum Imperatoris Kam Hi .... [Jap-Sin I, 206]
AuthorThomas, Antoine 安多, 1644-1709
Grimaldi, Claudio Filippo 閔明我, 1638-1712
Pereira, Tomás [Tomé] 徐日昇, 1645-1708
Pub. LocationTenri 天理PublisherTenri Toshokan 天理圖書館
Date1977Phys. Desc.61 double leaves ; 23 cm.
LocationDigital Archives, and Rare Book CabinetCall NumberBV3413.T5 1701r
Local access dig. file [Brevis Relatio.pdf]
Full title: Brevis relatio eoru[m], quae spectant ad declarationem Sinaru[m] imperatoris Kam Hi circa caeli, Cumfucii et avoru[m] cultu[m], datam anno 1700. Accedunt primatu[m], doctissimoru[m]q[ue] viroru[m], et antiquissimae traditionis testimonia. Opera PP. Societ. Jesu Pekini pro Evangelii propagatione laborantium.

Reprint of the 1701 ed. published in Peking : "Limited to two hundred copies." Original printed from wood blocks on double leaves of rice paper.
Dated: Pekini, 29 Julij anni 1701. Signed: Antoine Thomas, Filippo Grimaldi, Thomay Pereyra, Joannes Francs Gerbillion, Josephus Suares, Joachimus Bouvet, Kilianus Stumpf, J. Baptista Regis, Ludovicus Pernon, Dominicus Parrenin.

"A very important work composed and sent by the Peking Jesuits in 1701 from China to Rome. The book contains and explains the Kangxi Emperor's declaration about the Chinese terms for God and the non-religious nature of the Chinese Rites venerating ancestors and Confucius. This view, which was also that of the Jesuits, is also supported by quotations from the Chinese Classics and from statements by leaned Chinese of the time."--note inserted "From the collections of the Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History"

Full title: Brevis relatio eoru[m], quae spectant ad declarationem Sinaru[m] imperatoris Kam Hi circa caeli, Cumfucii et avoru[m] cultu[m], datam anno 1700. Accedunt primatu[m], doctissimoru[m]q[ue] viroru[m], et antiquissimae traditionis testimonia. Opera PP. Societ. Jesu Pekini pro Evangelii propagatione laborantium.

Original printed from wood blocks on double leaves of rice paper.
Dated: Pekini, 29 Julij anni 1701. Signed: Antoine Thomas, Filippo Grimaldi, Thomay Pereyra, Joannes Francs Gerbillion, Josephus Suares, Joachimus Bouvet, Kilianus Stumpf, J. Baptista Regis, Ludovicus Pernon, Dominicus Parrenin.

Reprint of the 1701 ed. published in Peking : "Limited to two hundred copies."
61 double leaves ; 23 cm ; bound and boxed in Chinese fashion.
Series: Classica Japonica: facsimile series in the Tenri Central Library : Section 11 : Varia III ; 4

"A very important work composed and sent by the Peking Jesuits in 1701 from China to Rome. The book contains and explains the Kangxi Emperor's declaration about the Chinese terms for God and the non-religious nature of the Chinese Rites venerating ancestors and Confucius. This view, which was also that of the Jesuits, is also supported by quotations from the Chinese Classics and from statements by leaned Chinese of the time."--note inserted in Ricci Institute edition.


Source: Albert Chan, Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 268-273
Jesuit Archive (ARSI) JapSin I, 206

Brevis Relatio eorum, | quae spectant ad Declaratio~ | nem Sinarum Imperatoris | Kam Hi | circa caeli, Cumfucii, et Avorum | cultum, datam anno 1700. | Accedunt Primatum, Doctissimo~ | rumque virorum, et antiquissimae tra~ | ditionis testmonia. | Opera PP. Societ. Jesu Pekini pro | Evangelii propagatione laborantium.

White Chinese bamboo paper in one volume, bound in Chinese style. Sixty-one + three folios. The number of the folio is given below the fish-tail in the middle of each folio. Arabic numbers are also given at the bottom of each folio.
Folios 1v–5v contain declarations and ff. 6v–10v text in Manchu (cf. Jap-Sin 157: Sinensis anno 1700, supplex libellus oblatus Impre | circa nonnullos Ritus sinenses | decretum Impris de iisdem. | Simile decretum, et supplex libellus missi sunt ad Sum. Pontificem.). Folios 11v–14v contain an account in Latin of a memorial to the Kangxi emperor in Manchu and of the reply of the emperor sent to the provinces; folios 15–16 give the translation into Chinese. Folios 17–61 give the views of eminent ministers at the imperial court on the question of Tianzhu 天主, the veneration given to Confucius and ancestor worship. Toward the end Chinese Classics are cited to confirm the points discussed. Ten ministers are quoted in this document, namely:

1. The younger brother of the Kangxi Emperor, Changning 常寧 (1657–1703).
2. So san lao ye [Suo san laoye 索三老爺, i.e., Songgotu 索額圖 (hao 愚庵, d. 1703?). He was an uncle to the empress and had great influence at the court. In 1688 he was appointed head of a commission to negotiate with the Russians about the border conflicts in Manchuria. Both Jean-François Gerbillon and Tomé Pereira were on the staff and he became a good friend of the Jesuits. The document mentions him especially for the efforts he made to secure liberty for the preaching of the Gospel in China: “. . . qui anno praecedentis saeculi 92° missus est ab Imperatore ad Tribunal Rituum, ac deinde Colaorum, ut suâ eloquentia persuaderet dandam Libertatem Edicto Publico, Legi christianae, ad quam ille bene affectus strenue id praestitit, et efficaciter est consecutus” (f. 23v).
3. Mim lao-ye [Ming laoye 明老爺, i.e., Mingzhu 明珠 (zi 端範, 1635–1708). His grandfather, Gintaisi, was one of the rulers of the Yehe nation, which was conquered by the founder of the Qing dynasty. The family then served under the Manchu Plain Yellow Banner. They followed the Manchus to Beijing in 1644 and became nobles of the new dynasty. The document states that Mingzhu served as Grand Secretary (Primus Colaus) for fifteen years; in fact he was in this office only for twelve years (1677–1688). He, too, is said to have shown love to the Divine Law of the Christians (f. 25v).
4. Isanghâ [Yinsanga 尹桑阿] (1638–1703), Manchu of the Plain Yellow Banner. He was Grand Secretary from 1688 to 1701. The emperor had a high esteem for him as a talented minister.
5. Kong Yuqi 孔 毓圻 (zi 鍾在, 1657–1723). He was native of Qufu 曲阜 (Shandong) and a descendant of Confucius. He came to the capital in 1702 for the birthday greeting to the emperor, and was asked by the Jesuits for his opinion on the question of the Chinese Rites (f. 29v, 30r).
6. Vam Hi (Wang Xi 王熙, ziu 子雍, 胥庭; hao 慕齋, 1612–1701). He was a native of Wanping in Beijing. He held the office of Grand Secretary from 1682 to 1701. The document mentions him as: “viri toto Imperio, ob eruditionis, ac prudentiae famam celeberrimi” (f. 30r).
7. Cham Yim (Zhang Ying 張英, zi 敦復, hao 樂圃, 1638–1708). He was a native of Tongcheng (Anhui). In 1677 Chang, then an expositor at the Hanlin Academy, was selected by the emperor to serve in the newly created office known as Nan Shufang 南書坊 (Imperial Study). Only very talented members of the Hanlin Academy were selected for the Nan Shufang and the choice was often made by the emperor personally. He was Grand Secretary from 1699 to 1701.
8. Han Tan 韓菼 (zi 元少, hao 慕盧, 1637–1704). The document says that “insuper Praesidem agit supremi Tribunalis Rituum” (f. 31v); Han Tan was President of the Ministry of Rites from 1700 to 1704. Earlier, in 1703, he wrote a preface to the work Tianxue benyi 天學本義 attributed to Joachim Bouvet, which shows that he was a friend of the missioners (cf. ECCP 1:275).
9. Sun Zhimi 孫致彌 (zi 愷似, hao 松坪, 1642–1709). He was the grandson of Ignatius Sun Yuanhua 孫元化 (cf. Jap-Sin I, 62). Sun Zhimi, “a jinshi of 1678, attracted notice in 1678 because—though he was then only a student in the Imperial Academy—he was specially selected as one of the envoys sent on a mission to Korea to collect poetry there. He achieved some note also as a poet and a calligrapher” (ECCP 2:686).
10. Li Kai 李鎧. His name does not appear in any of the official books. We derive our information only from our document, which says that he was an old man, not distinguished by his official position but highly respected by both the Chinese and Manchus for his great erudition. For more than thirty years he was employed by the emperor in writing books now in Chinese, now in Manchu. He is said to have translated European books on science into the Chinese and Manchu languages. The Tianzhu shiyi by Ricci was translated by him (f. 32r). The same old man is said to have translated Aleni’s book Wanwu zhenyuan 萬物真原 from Chinese into Manchu (f. 33v).

A copy of seven of these ten testimonies can be found in Jap-Sin 160, no. 3, which consists of nine testimonies (cf. SF 8:751–752, n. 133). The first three Manchu dignitaries do not appear in that text and instead two Chinese take their place: Lin Wenying 林文英 of Fujian (閩中) and Wu Sheng 吳晟 of Huaiyin 淮陰 (Jiangsu). Lin Wenying we have met already as the author of a preface (1697) to a reprint of the Da ke wen 答客問 (see Jap-Sin I, 146). Wu Sheng (zi 麗正, hao 梅原) was a native of Quanjiao 全椒 (Anhui) and he lived from 1635 to 1694. See “Epitaph of Wu Sheng” in Chu Xin 儲欣 (fl. 1770), Zailu caotang wenji 在陸草堂文集, juan 6.

The statements of these ten scholars praised unanimously the Jesuits’ correct understanding of the Chinese Rites. They had all read the treatise, which most of them attributed to Min Xiansheng 閔先生 (i.e., Claudio Filippo Grimaldi), although others attributed it to the Jesuits as a group (西洋諸先生).
The document was signed by the following members of the Society of Jesus in Peking on 29 July 1701: Antoine Thomas, vice-provincial of China, Claudio Filippo Grimaldi, rector in Beijing, Tomé Pereira, Jean-François Gerbillon, José Soares, Joachim Bouvet, Kilian Stumpf, Jean-Baptiste Régis, Louis de Pernon, Dominique Parrenin.

Folio 30 (recto) has the following original handwritten statements (cf. Jap-Sin 160, no. 3):

Aliqua Testimonia Doctorum Imperii ac Magnatum Latine edita in relatione an. 1701, pag. 30 [b].
alia indicata pag. 22 eiusdem relationis. omnia numero novem.

Testor hoc exemplar esse legitimum Pekini 3 oct. 1702.
Antonius Thomas, Vice~Provlis Soctis Jesu, Vice~Provae Sinensis (With a red seal of the Society of Jesus).

On the verso of this folio:
Ego Episcopus Macaensis testor | hanc esse veram Copiam ori | ginalis. Macai 20 Januarii | an. 1703. Jes. de Cazal Epus Ma | caonensis.

Ego Notarius Episcopalis Macaensis | fidem facio hunc supra testificationem | esse propriam Illmi Dni Joannis de Cazal Episcopi Macaensis — Messi | 20 Januarii an. 1703. Bac Acunha. Recognita ut in fide separata, Joseph Zambecchinus, Dominicus do Blanchis.

Folio 62 bears the following five handwritten statements:
1. Ego infrascriptus, Vice~Provlis Soctis Jesu Vice~Provae Sinensis testor me accepisse testimonium fratris natu minoris Imperatoris Tartaro~Sinici supra relatum folio 21º in cuius fidem, manu propria subscribo: Pekini 30a Septembris 1701.
Antonius Thomas.

2. Nos infra scripti Sacerdotes Societatis Jesu testamur nos accepisse dtta testimonia duorum magnatum So San Lao ye & Mim Lao ye, nec non Isangha Imperii primi ministri a folio 22º ad 28º supra relata. In quorum fidem subscribimus. Pekini die 30a Septembris 1701.

Joannes Franciscus Gerbillon.

Superior Patrum Gallorum.

Joachim Bouvet.

3. Ego infra subscriptus Soctis Jesu Collegii Pekinesis Rector testor me accepisse testmonia quatuor quae fol. 29, 30, 31 et 32 continentr in quorum fidem hic subscribo, die 30 septembris 1702.

Philippus Grimaldi.

4. Ego infra scriptus Sacerdos Societatis Jesu, testor me accepisse duo inter decem ultima testimonia supra relata a folio 32º usque ad 33in. In quorum fidem subscribo. Pekini die 30a Septembris anni 1702.

Joachim Bouvet.

5. Ego infra subscriptus vice~Provlis Soctis Jesu Vice~Provae Sinensis testor hoc exemplar Brevis Relationis etc., habens folia impressa 61 esse legitimum, uti et subscriptiones hic positas. In quorum fidem, Libellum in prima pagina et ultima, proprio officii Sigillo munivi, atque hic subscribo.

Pekini 26 Oct. 1701.

Antonius Thomas.

(with a red seal of the Society of Jesus).
Folio 64 has the following handwritten statement:
Libellus quo PP. Societatis suam agendi rationem in Regno Sinarum defendunt, ac de ritum erga Confucium, Coelum, Terram ac parentes cultu rationes assignant, easque coeremonias mere Politicas, cogestis testimoniis sapientum sinarum, esse propug’t.
Hoc exemplar est originale a PP. Pekini Societatis suscriptum, rarissimum ideo, ac praetiosissimum esse nemini dubium est.
Cf. Cordier, BS 2:892–893; P. Pelliot, “La Brevis Relatio,” T’oung Pao 23 (1924), pp. 355–372; Streit, BM 7:55–56 (2204); H. Walravens, Monumenta Serica 31 (1974–75), p. 522, n. 6; J. Dehergne, Actes du IIe Colloque International de Sinologie (Paris, 1980), p. 206, n. 40. Y. de Thomaz de Bossierre, Un Belge mandarin à la cour de Chine aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles: Antoine Thomas, 1644–1709, Ngan To P’ing-che (Paris, 1977), p. 105.

Jesuit Archives (ARSI) JapSin I, 206a
Brevis Relatio.

The cover bears a Latin inscription: “Exemplar testimoniorum impressum Pekini.”
Like Jap-Sin I, 206, this is an original Beijing impression. The whole book consists of sixty-one folios without a list of corrigenda.

Jesuit Archives (ARSI) JapSin I, 206b
Brevis Relatio.

The cover bears a Latin inscription: “Hic liber secundum originale Pekinense impressus fuit Cantone in Cina anno 1701.”
This is a faithful copy of the Beijing edition, published in Guangzhou, with one page of corrigenda.

Jesuit Archives (ARSI) JapSin I, 206c
Brevis Relatio.

The cover bears a Latin inscription: “Revdo Patri Thyrso Gonzalez | Generali Preposito Soctis Jesu | Carolus Turcottus.”
Another copy of the Cantonese edition; sixty-one folios without a list of corrigenda. Carlo Turcotti (1643–1706) was Visitor to the Province of Japan and the Vice-Province of China from 15 October 1698 until 15 October 1701.

Jesuit Archives (ARSI) JapSin I, 206d
Brevis Relatio.

Another copy of the Cantonese edition; sixty-one folios without a list of corrigenda.

Jesuit Archives (RSI) JapSin I, 206e
Brevis Relatio.

The same as Jap-Sin I, 206c.

Jesuit Archives (ARSI) JapSin I, 206f
Brevis Relatio.

The folios 15, 16 and 28–61 are missing.

Jesuit Archives (ARSI) JapSin I, 206g
Brevis Relatio.

This is a copy in handwriting on bamboo paper; it does not reproduce the Manchu text: the Chinese text after folio 23 is followed immediately by folio 31. The text, however, is complete, although the pagination might suggest that it is incomplete.

Subject(s)Chinese Rites controversy--Sources
God (Name)--China--Sources
Ancestor worship--China--History--Western views and opinions
Ancestor worship--China--Religious aspects
Confucianism--China--Religious aspects--Jesuit interpretations
Kangxi 康熙, Emperor of China, 1654-1722--Views on Confucianism
Chinese classics--Religious aspects
SeriesClassica Japonica: facsimile series in the Tenri Central Library : Section 11 : Varia III ; 4
Rec. TypeBook (stitch-bound 線裝本), and Digital Book (PDF)LanguageLatin, Manchu, Chinese
CollectionRicci Institute LibraryRec. #94
LCCN79-375815OCLC6303648