Global architecture for eighteenth-century Beijing

BookGlobal architecture for eighteenth-century Beijing

Global architecture for eighteenth-century Beijing

Building Qing Enlightenments

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2022:04


April 11th, 2022



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This book reinterprets architecture in Beijing during the reigns of the Kangxi (1661-1722), Yongzheng (1723-1735) and Qianlong (1736-1795) emperors in the eighteenth century. More specifically, it views the building processes of the four churches and the Western palaces in the Yuánmíng Yuán garden as an example of cultural dialogue in the context of the Enlightenment. The study is based firstly on archival sources from different institutions from around the globe, using Big Data to manage them. Secondly, it places increased emphasis on architectural remains, preserved both in international collections as well as at archaeological sites. To take advantage of these remains, some were recorded using close-range photogrammetry. Digital sunlight analyses of the buildings’ interiors were also carried out. From these emerging technologies, as well as written sources, it becomes possible first to reinterpret Beijing as an imperial capital where religious tolerance and cosmopolitanism were increasing, and second to re-evaluate the entire Yuánmíng Yuán Garden complex as a miniature version of Beijing. This approach makes for easier subsequent comparisons with other imperial capitals of the time, such as London, Paris and Istanbul. As such, this study reveals a largely neglected chapter in the global history of architecture, while simultaneously offering a crucial re-examination of the existing architectural remains.

Author Information

Pedro Luengo is Professor of the History of Art at the Universidad de Sevilla. He specialises in eighteenth-century architecture in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. His previous publications include The Convents of Manila: Globalized Architecture during the Iberian Union (2017) and Manila, 1645 (2020).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations9
Introduction: Enlightenment modernity on a global scale; urban architecture in a specific setting17
1. Qing modernity: the court31
Globalisation policies in the eighteenth century32
Kangxi and the beginning of openness36
2. The universal garden-palace: Yuánmíng Yuán73
Building a discourse of globalisation in stone: Xīyáng Lóu78
The technical hybridisation process121
The architectural rhetoric of globalism: a comparative vision128
3. Beijing: the capital of religious tolerance161
Traditional religious architecture164
Russian monasteries and houses170
Roman Catholic churches175
4. The public images of Yuánmíng Yuán221
Local replicas in stone and colour221
The foreign image reaches the native population235
Engraving an image for the empire242
Conclusion: a modern city255