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Mailla, Joseph Anne Marie Moyria de


Missionary, historian, and cartographer; b. Maillat (Ain), France, December 16, 1669; d. Beijing, China, June 28, 1748. The young noble entered the Society of Jesus on September 12, 1686, and departed France for China in 1701. After arrival at Macau in 1703, he took up residence in Canton, where he acquired marked proficiency in the language. His religious writings were mainly Chinese translations of the Sunday Gospels, lives of the saints, prayers for Communion, devotions to the Sacred Heart, and the spiritual exercises of Ignatius Loyola. When Emperor Khang-hi commissioned the Jesuits to make a cartographical survey of China, Mailla was selected with two other Jesuits to map the provinces of Henan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Taiwan. For this he received the rank of mandarin. Later he learned the Manchurian language and translated the annals of the empire into French. The completed manuscript was sent to France in 1737, but was not published until Abbé Grosier incorporated it into a Histoire générale de la China (13 v. Paris 177785). Mailla also wrote the early history of Formosa, translated into English in 1774, and an account of the persecution of Christians in China that was published in the Lettres édifiantes. Having been in imperial favor, Mailla was honored with a state funeral at his death.

Bibliography: c. sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus 5:330334; 9:629; 12:564. Lettres édifiantes, ed. c. le gobien and j. b. du halde, 34 v. (Paris 170773) 2.19:327. r. streit and j. dindinger Biblioteca missionum 7:503. l. pfister, Notices biographique et bibliographique sur les Jésuites de l'ancienne mission de Chine, 1552-1773 (Shanghai 1932-34).

[j. v. mentag]

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