In the late Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Catholic missionaries arrived in China to preach Christianity. Suspected by the ruling emperors, figures like Matteo Ricci (1552-1519) approached royal authorities by introducing scientific knowledge to them. This trend continued to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), and was deployed extensively by the Emperor Kangxi (reign 1667-1722), especially in the field of calendric knowledge. Previous research contended that Kangxi’s adoption of western calendric knowledge was mainly out of Kangxi’s own interest or his concern of empire-building. This paper argues that Kangxi utilized the western calendric astronomy as statecraft to stabilize the Qing empire through perspectives of agriculture and cosmological significance. As a correct calendar was essential for peasants, Kangxi reformed the traditional calendar to ensure crop productivity, and thus to maintain nationwide stability and wellbeing. Kangxi also gained authority from promoting a correct calendar, which linked him to heaven, and established him as a rightful ruler.
"Stabilizing the Empire: Western Calendric Astronomy as Statecraft during the Kangxi Reign, 1667-1720."
The Quiet Corner Interdisciplinary Journal,
Available at: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/tqc/vol3/iss1/2