Michael Keevak: The Story of a Stele: China’s Nestorian Monument and Its Reception in the West, 1625-1916

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作者: Michael Keevak
ISBN: 9789622098954
页数: 208 pp
定价: HKD295/USD39.5
出版社: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
装帧: Hardback
出版年: 2008

Western readers have yet to come to terms with the fact that during
much of our history very little was ever "known" about China. There
was never any lack of information from missionaries and travelers and
traders. But what kind of information was it? What kind of knowledge
was obtainable via the lenses of religious intolerance, colonial
ambition, or Eurocentrism? Travel accounts, Jesuit letter-books, or
embassy narratives can sometimes seem comparatively dispassionate,
even ethnographic, but one is repeatedly struck by a remarkable
vagueness when it comes to discussions of the foreign, and such
discussions become buried in a huge melange of fact and fiction that
is then collected, retold, or reintegrated in innumerable ways. The
thesis of this book is that when Westerners discussed the Nestorian
monument they were not really talking about China at all. The stone
served as a kind of screen onto which they could project their own
self-image and this is what they were looking at, not China. The stone
came to represent the empire and its history for many Western readers,
but only because it was seen as a tiny bit of the West that was
already there.
This is the first detailed study in English of the Western reception
of the monument since its discovery in Xiˇan in 1625. It will be
essential reading for those interested in East Asian colonialism, in
the vagaries of cross-cultural contact between East and West, and in
the way in which, from the very