Although earlier chinese dynasts had long recognized

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Although earlier Chinese dynasts had long recognized the political value moving through the land 447
of maps, the Kangxi emperor, like his European contemporary Louis XIV, promoted the mapping of empire on an unprecedented scale. 85 He delighted in the measurement technology that he learned from the Jesuits. They ac- companied him on his northern campaigns against Galdan, where Kangxi employed what he had learned from his weekly lessons in geometry to de- termine latitude by measuring the position of the pole star, and to measure the height of cliffs. Afterwards, he commissioned the Jesuits to produce for 448 fixing frontiers Plate showing Zungharia–Tianshan–Kashgar from the “Jesuit Atlas” (Huangyu Quanlan Tu). [To view this image, refer to the print version of this title.]
him an atlas of the entire empire, the famous “Jesuit Atlas” (Huangyu Quanlan Tu), published in three versions from 1717 to 1721. 86 The 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 his body in the terrain, either on military campaigns or on imperial tours; now he could see all of it from the privacy of his palace. From 1715 to his death in 1722, the ailing emperor traveled only to the Eastern Tombs and Rehe; he never again ventured south or beyond the Great Wall. 87 The compilation of the atlas was one component of a broader project to systematize and rationalize the ruler’s knowledge of space and time. An edict of 1713, for example, ordered the synchronization of the calendar, regulating times of sunrise and sunset and the twenty-four hours of the day in the Khorchin region of Mongolia, based on the Jesuits’ new measure- ment techniques. 88 The stages of production of the atlas indicate its close connection with strategic concerns. 89 The Jesuits in 1700 first produced a survey of the capital to help protect against periodic flooding. The emperor personally checked the accuracy of their techniques. In 1708 he called on them to map a portion of the Great Wall. The success of this project inspired Kangxi to call for a map of the entire empire. The surveyors began with the home- land of the Manchus around Mukden, Chengde, and the Ussuri and Amur rivers. From there they proceeded to survey the province that included the capital. In 1710 further surveys of sparsely settled territory on the Amur helped to establish the strategic bases along the border negotiated with the Russians. Finally they proceeded to the other provinces, fixing a total of 641 points of latitude and longitude by astronomical and geographical measurements. The court issued five woodblock editions and one copper edition of the atlas between 1717 and 1726, and even, some say, a version engraved in jade. Clearly the rulers wanted the atlas to be, as the Qianlong emperor said, “handed down for all eternally.” 90 The Manchus drew on many sources for expanding their knowledge of these little-known frontiers. The project depended crucially on local of-

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