Jesuitenerbe in Peking: Sakralbauten und transkulturelle Räume 1600-1800 (Heidelberg Transcultural Studies 5), Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 2020. Hard cover, 478 pages, 194 black & white illustrations and 19 color plates. ISBN: 978-3-8253-6937-8
Focusing on three Jesuit churches and their related transcultural spaces in Beijing, this volume offers a thorough insight into the global development of Jesuit art and architecture and contributes to the current debate on global art history. Based on a critical revision of the buildings’ histories, it first places its interest in the deconstruction of a glittering, widely circulated “Jesuit myth” – that the construction of their residences and churches was patronized by the Chinese emperors – and further evaluates the social effect of Jesuit topography in the context of urban exploration. The latter is crucial for understanding the choice of identity-granting “architectural modules” in terms of their power mechanism inside the Society of Jesus. In the last two chapters, case studies from Emperor Qianlong’s (r. 1735–1796) court, ranging from Jesuit-related palatial spaces linked to events, to political spaces of negotiation, and to the emperor’s personal spaces of representation, are used to illustrate how aesthetic and intellectual implications were determined by actors and the public and were in turn instrumentalized for the purpose of the Qing political agenda and the subject-formation of the Manchu elites.