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Book/Printed Material Yuan rong jiao yi 圜容較義

About this Item


  • Yuan rong jiao yi

Other Title

  • 圜容較義

Translated Title

  • Treatise on Geometry


  • Yuan rong jiao yi (Treatise on geometry) is an 1847 edition of a work dictated in 1608 by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552--1610) to official and scholar Li Zhizao (1565--1630). Ricci, whose Chinese name was Li Madou, was one of the founding figures of the Jesuit mission in China. Li Zhizao was baptized by Ricci in 1610 and took the name Leo. He studied with Ricci and wrote prefaces to a number of his books. Ricci dictated several works to Li, who put them into acceptable Chinese. The treatise was first printed in Beijing in 1614, after Ricci's death and while Li was posted to Shanzhou (present-day Puyang Xian, Hebei Province). It was reprinted by his friend Wang Mengpu, with a preface by Li himself. Ricci's treatise was included in the collection of 19 works by missionaries, edited by Li, entitled Tian xue chu han (Preliminary works on astronomy), issued together with three other works by Ricci and Xu Guangqi. This 1847 edition is included in Hai shan xian guan cong shu (The Haishan Xianguan Collection), which was published in Fanyu circa 1845--49, based on the books in the private library of the merchant Pan Zhencheng (1714--88). Ricci's source was a commentary by German Jesuit Clavius on the 13th-century work on spheres by the scholar, monk, and astronomer Johannes de Sacrobosco (circa 1195--circa 1256). The Ricci book discusses the sphere and its volume, beginning with the statement that everything on earth has a shape. It then explains these shapes, such as the circle, rectangle, polygon, and equilateral triangle and it notes that of all geometrical figures with the same surface area, the sphere has the greatest volume. The book contains 18 propositions, and the text retains the idea of the divine perfection of the celestial sphere.


  • Li, Zhizao, 1565-1630 Translator
  • Ricci, Matteo, 1552-1610 Author

Created / Published

  • Fanyu, Guangdong Province : Haishan Xianguan, [1847 to 1847]


  • -  China
  • -  1847 to 1847
  • -  Celestial sphere
  • -  Geometrical models
  • -  Great circle (Geometry)
  • -  Jesuits


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 1 juan in 1 volume.
  • -  Original resource at: National Central Library.
  • -  Content in Chinese.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.
  • -  Title revised per Asian Division.--cc28 2023-01-06


  • 1 online resource.

Source Collection

  • Chinese Books, Manuscripts, Maps, and Prints

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666341

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Li, Zhizao, Translator, and Matteo Ricci. Yuan Rong Jiao Yi. [Fanyu, Guangdong Province: Haishan Xianguan, to, 1847] Pdf.

APA citation style:

LI, Z. & Ricci, M. (1847) Yuan Rong Jiao Yi. [Fanyu, Guangdong Province: Haishan Xianguan, to] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Li, Zhizao, Translator, and Matteo Ricci. Yuan Rong Jiao Yi. [Fanyu, Guangdong Province: Haishan Xianguan, to, 1847] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.