When Matteo Ricci, the Italian Jesuit, arrived in China in 1583, the Chinese had never
seen a map of the world. When the Jesuits were expelled in 1723, they left not the many
converts they had hoped for – but the first scientific atlas ever produced of China, with
maps so authoritative that western explorers still relied on them more than one hundred years later.
Approximate Determination of Positions in South-Western China
Baber writes: "With the exception of the points established by Captain Blakiston and
Lieutenant Garnier, our knowledge of the geographical position of places
in Western China rests entirely upon the authority of the Jesuit surveyors
[. . . ] [T]heir map is for general purposes a most admirable work, and since
it was never designed to serve as a route-map for tourists, or a chart for
river-pilots, it would be ungracious to find fault with its deficiencies; especially
when it is remembered that all existing maps of Eastern Asia are
more or less modified reproductions of their survey."
With geographic positions for many places in Yunnan this paper represents the pinnacle of map making at his time.
The Emperor Kang Hsi's Edict on Mountains and Rivers of China
Emperor Kangxi's reaction to the Jesuit mapping project.
Der Jesuiten Atlas der Kanghsi-Zeit
Seine Entstehungsgeschichte nebst Namensindices für die Karten der Mandjurei, Mongolei, Ostturkestan und Tibet
A German war-time study (in German).
An Atlas of Ancient Maps in China
The Seventeenth Century Maps of China
An Inquiry into the Compilations of European Cartographers
One of the most comprehensive papers on the Jesuit map making with many examples that illustrating the geographical knowledge of (not only) Yunnan at the time.
The Mappa Imperii Sinarum of Michael Boym
The Polish sinologist Michael Boym (1612-1659) produced at least three maps of China in the 17th century. The extant maps are reprinted in this paper.