chapter  25
4 Pages

Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1654–1722; reigned 1662–1722)

The third son of the Shunzhi Emperor, surnamed Aisin Gioro 愛新覺羅, personal name Xuanye 玄曄, reign name Kangxi 康熙. He ascended the throne shortly before his seventh birthday, and reigned from 1661 (and from 1662 as Kangxi, when that reign name was introduced) until his death in 1722, when he was awarded the temple name of Emperor Shengzu of the Qing Dynasty 清聖祖. During his reign, the Kangxi Emperor quelled the Rebellion of the Three Feudatories,184 regained Taiwan from the rule of the Zheng warlord family, and drove the Russian Czar Peter the Great’s army out of the north-east territories. He encouraged increased agricultural productivity, and attended to such things as water conservancy and the irrigation of the Yellow River basin. He established an imperial commission that in 1718, with the help of French Jesuit priests, produced A Map of the Imperial Realm 皇輿全圖 (Huangyu quantu), covering all the Qing territories including the Manchu homeland. He encouraged cultural exchange with the West, especially through the mediation of the French Jesuits who had begun to arrive in the 1680s. His passionate interest in science led him to study astronomy and mathematics with the missionaries. He was personally involved in the compilation of Origins of Mathematical Harmonics and Calendrical Astronomy, Compiled by Imperial Decree 御製律曆淵源 (Yuzhi lüli yuanyuan),185 a large-scale work consisting of a total of one hundred chapters in three sections: A Compendium of Astronomical Studies 曆象考成 (Lixiang kaocheng),186

Correct Interpretation of [Standard] Pitchpipes 律呂正義 (Lülü zhengyi),187 and Essence of Numbers and their Principles: A Compendium 數理精蘊 (Shuli jingyun).188 The initiative to create an imperial body of knowledge covering astronomy, music and mathematics was a distinct feature of his reign.