From Images to Texts: Reflections on the Manchu Manuscript Ge Ti ciowan Lu bithe

Songjie GU, Minzu University of China
December 17, 2020 16:00 ~ 17:30
Room 109, Building C, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Ge Ti ciowan Lu bithe is an early eighteenth-century Manchu translation of a Western medical book. This book consists of human anatomy and pathology, representing the frontier of the contemporary Western medicine. The translation, commanded by Emperor Kangxi and spearheaded by the French Jesuit missionary Dominique Parennin (1665–1741), was among the most significant landmarks of Sino-Western exchange in late imperial China. Ge Ti ciowan Lu bithe contains both images and texts, but across the several extant editions of its manuscripts, the texts are all in Manchu, resulting in its current scholarship mostly focused on images over texts. In this light, my research is primarily based on a thorough understanding of the texts in Ge Ti ciowan Lu bithe, from where I look into issues concerning the editions, authorship, translatorship and completion of this book, as well as the relationship between its images and texts. Furthermore, I also reflect on the importance of using the literature in its original language in historical studies.