Missionary and sinologist; b. Russey, near Besançon, France, Sept. 1, 1665; d. Peking, Sept. 29, 1741. He was admitted into the Society of Jesus on Sept. 1, 1685, and left for the China mission in 1697. At the court of Peking he pleased Emperor K'ang-hi with his extensive knowledge and his familiarity with the Chinese and Tatar-Manchu languages. With this advantage he discussed physics, history, and the place of Christianity in producing the culture of the West. His great service to China was in making maps, especially the great map of China. His popularity at court was greatly responsible for preventing the total destruction of the Christian mission during the hostile reign of Yong-tsching (1723–35), son of K'ang-hi. Many of his letters were published by J. B. du Halde in Lettres édifiantes et curieuses (Paris 1711) and Description de la Chine et de la Tartarie Chinoise (Paris 1735, Eng. tr. E. Cave, 2 v. London 1738–41). Others are found in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
Bibliography: c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus (Brussels-Paris 1890–1932) 6:284–290. l. koch, Jesuiten-Lexicon: Die Gesellschaft Jesu einst und jetzt (Louvain-Heverlee 1962) 1383–84. s. delacroix, ed. Histoire universelle des missions catholiques (Paris 1956–59) 2:177, 360. b. h. willeke, Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 8:110.
[j. s. schwarz]