The Transmission of the European Clock-Making Technology into China in the 17th-18th Centuries

  • Baichun ZhangEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS, volume 15)


Starting in the late 16th century European religious missionaries were sent to China. Such Jesuit missionaries as Matteo Ricci played an important role in the transmission of European knowledge to China. In order to promote their religious mission, they brought European scientific knowledge, instruments and clocks to China. In the 17th century, Jesuits constructed clocks for emperors in Imperial Palace. Chinese craftsmen made copies of European clocks and they established clock-making workshops in such cities as Suzhou and Guangzhou. The main reason why Chinese people accepted European clock-making technology is the fact that European clocks were functionally superior to such traditional timepieces as clepsydra, gnomon, sundial and so on.


Chinese People Qing Dynasty Chinese Craftsman Chinese Style Jesuit Missionary 
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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Institute for the History of Natural SciencesBeijingP.R. China

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