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Although earlier Chinese dynasts had long recognized the political valuemoving through the land447
of maps, the Kangxi emperor, like his European contemporary Louis XIV,promoted the mapping of empire on an unprecedented scale.85He delightedin the measurement technology that he learned from the Jesuits. They ac-companied him on his northern campaigns against Galdan, where Kangxiemployed what he had learned from his weekly lessons in geometry to de-termine latitude by measuring the position of the pole star, and to measurethe height of cliffs. Afterwards, he commissioned the Jesuits to produce for448fixing frontiersPlate showing Zungharia–Tianshan–Kashgar from the “Jesuit Atlas”(HuangyuQuanlan Tu).[To view this image, refer to the print version of this title.]
him an atlas of the entire empire, the famous “Jesuit Atlas”(HuangyuQuanlan Tu),published in three versions from 1717 to 1721.86The em-peror could now claim to have mastered his entire realm under his “com-prehensive gaze”(quanlan)simply by leafing through the printed sheets.Until the compilation of the atlas, he had viewed his realm by placing hisbody in the terrain, either on military campaigns or on imperial tours; nowhe could see all of it from the privacy of his palace. From 1715 to his deathin 1722, the ailing emperor traveled only to the Eastern Tombs and Rehe;he never again ventured south or beyond the Great Wall.87The compilation of the atlas was one component of a broader project tosystematize and rationalize the ruler’s knowledge of space and time. Anedict of 1713, for example, ordered the synchronization of the calendar,regulating times of sunrise and sunset and the twenty-four hours of the dayin the Khorchin region of Mongolia, based on the Jesuits’ new measure-ment techniques.88The stages of production of the atlas indicate its close connection withstrategic concerns.89The Jesuits in 1700 first produced a survey of thecapital to help protect against periodic ﬂooding. The emperor personallychecked the accuracy of their techniques. In 1708 he called on them to mapa portion of the Great Wall. The success of this project inspired Kangxi tocall for a map of the entire empire. The surveyors began with the home-land of the Manchus around Mukden, Chengde, and the Ussuri and Amurrivers. From there they proceeded to survey the province that included thecapital. In 1710 further surveys of sparsely settled territory on the Amurhelped to establish the strategic bases along the border negotiated with theRussians. Finally they proceeded to the other provinces, fixing a total of641 points of latitude and longitude by astronomical and geographicalmeasurements. The court issued five woodblock editions and one copperedition of the atlas between 1717 and 1726, and even, some say, a versionengraved in jade. Clearly the rulers wanted the atlas to be, as the Qianlongemperor said, “handed down for all eternally.”90The Manchus drew on many sources for expanding their knowledge ofthese little-known frontiers. The project depended crucially on local of-