Jesuits & Medicine in China at the Qing Imperial Court

Jesuits & Medicine in China

Thursday, March 8, 2007
5:45 PM – 7:00 PM
University of San Francisco
(Directions to USF)
Lone Mountain Campus,
Del Santo Reading Room
(2800 Turk between Masonic & Parker)

Keynote public lecture for Friday,
Symposium, March 9, 2007, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Registration required. $25.00 (with lunch), $15.00 (without lunch)
Medicine & Culture: Chinese-Western Medical Exchange (1644 -ca. 1950)

Public Lecture (Free and Open to the Public). Reservations recommended. Contact the USF Ricci Institute at 415-422-6401 or
March 8, 2007, 5:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Ricci Institute, University of San Francisco Center for the Pacific Rim, USF Lone Mountain Campus, Del Santo Reading Room
Keynote lecture by Marta Hanson, PhD for March 9th symposium, “Medicine and Culture: Chinese-Western Medical Exchange (1644-ca.1950).

Symposium, March 9, 2007, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Registration required. $25.00 (with lunch), $15.00 (without lunch)
The Ricci Institute at the University of San Francisco Center for the Pacific Rim is pleased to announce Medicine & Culture: Chinese-Western Medical Exchange during the Late Imperial and Modern Periods, a one day symposium to be held at the University of San Francisco. The symposium will be an examination of the historical interaction between China and the West through medicine and pharmacology from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) through the early 1950s. For a list of presenters and paper titles and registration information visit:

What kind of healing took place in the Qing imperial court during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (r.1662-1722)? Chinese physicians offered acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, and medicinal tonics. Yet, the Emperor disliked Chinese acupuncture, loathed the smell of mugwort, would never get a massage, scoffed at Taoist longevity practices, and expressed skepticism of southern tonics and restoratives. He was curious about ‘Western medicine’ and the scientific knowledge of Jesuits in his court. From the Jesuits would come ‘Jesuit’s bark’, tonic wines, brandy, the surgeon’s scalpel, and an anatomical view of the human body.
Additional picture
According to the 1698 account of the French Jesuit Joachim Bouvet, the Emperor had become interested in Western medicine only after a member of their group had successfully used ‘Jesuit’s bark/Cinchona’ (modern-day quinine) to cure the Emperor of a malignant fever he had contracted during one of his southern tours in 1692. In response to this quinine-healing episode, Kangxi ordered a Manchu translation of Western
medicinal substances and even had a Jesuit botanist and pharmacist travel with him on some of his tours. The result of this initial interest in Western medicine would reach fruition about a quarter century later in the early 1720s with several copies of illustrated Western anatomy texts in Manchu.

Reading the writings of the Jesuits and the Kangxi Emperor on medicine together provides a unique window on the medical pluralism, the Chinese-Western exchange of therapies, concepts, and images of the body, and the range of therapies practiced within the Manchu court of the early Qing dynasty.

Keynote Speaker: Marta Hanson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Prof. Hanson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in the History and Sociology of Science. She has written numerous articles on medical regionalism, gender and medicine, and Manchu medical sources in late imperial China. Her book manuscript is titled Speaking of Epidemics: New Genres and Currents of Learning in Qing Medicine.

For information, call 415-422-6401 or e-mail