Official Court Portrait of The Great Ching Emperor Kang Hsi
1662 -1723 AD
( original on Silk - part of The Palace Museum Collection )
This page was last updated on: May 22, 2017
Official "Logo" of The Manchu Ching Dynasty
- Dragon pouncing from Heaven
( original on ceiling Wan Sheng Imperial Art Museum - Summer Palace, Beijing)
Life 1654 - 1722 AD
Reign 1661 - 1722 AD Reign Period Name KangXi
Shengzu (Aisin-Gioro) Hsuan Yeh, Name as Emperor Kang Hsi
Kang Hsi ascended the Dragon Throne on January 7Th 1661 AD, the day his Father Died.
His early Reign was influenced by 4 Regent-Generals of whom one, General Aobai, attempted
to concentrate all decision power in himself.
At Age 14 Kang Hsi decided to take reign and power himself, tricked Aobai into believing his young imperial incompetence and had the General arrested. There is no further mention of General Aobai.
The First priority of the early life of the young Kangxi Emperor was the ongoing conflict with the Ming, who, although they had been de-throned and thrown out of the Capital in Beijing in 1644 and who's restoration attempt had faltered with the taking of Nanking and the capture of the Emperor, yet lived on and found many supporters within the Central and Southern Provinces. The conflict Ming raged under the rule of Kangxi's predecessor the Shunzhi Emperor (Reign: 1643 AD - 1661 AD).
Many Chinese far prefered the incompetent rule of the Ming above that of a "Foreign" and thus barbarian dynasty by the Qing. Thus, the building of a support base for the rule of the Manchu, and the annihilation of the alternative, the Ming was of the utmost importance.
Meanwhile, the Ming would try several more restoration attempts, with respectively Hangzou, Fuzhou in Fujian Province and Canton (Guangzhou). Each time they were attacked and expelled by the advancing and military superior Manchu Troops. Next they retreated to Guilin (in current day Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region) where a last Ming Prince, Chung Zhen, was again crowned as Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. While the Manchu consolidated their power up north, the Ming fought a tenacious battle from their new retreat in the Guangxi Region and in effect, by 1648 A.D. still ruled a sizeable portion of Chinese territory, some 7 provinces in the south.
Although, the remaining Ming Dynasty were supported by the Portugese for some time they were driven further south in a last renewed offensive by the Manchu Qing and by 1650 A.D. Kunming in Yunnan Province was their Capital. Finally, they were even dislodged from this mountainous and remote southern hide-out the remnants of their forces as well as many local allied tribes fleeing into the territories of Birma (Today: Myanmar).
Xuan Ye was crowned Emperor in 1661 at age 11, becoming Kangxi Emperor.
In the next year 1662 ,the Ming Story found its ending lines when the Chinese General Wu San Wei rode across the Birmese Border with a sizeable army, delivering his demand that the Birmese hand
Aisin-Gioro Xuan Yeh, Emperor Kang Xi for 61 years,
as depicted on a late 19Th Century Ching Dynasty silver Dollar.
Death & Succession : There is also a "Mystery" about Kang Hsi's succession. With his long reign, old age and 35 sons Kang Hsi found it difficult to choose a good successor. Earlier in his reign first Son Yin Jeng had plotted against his Father Kang Hsi. Successive wavering on Kang Hsi's behalf, dismissing Yin Jeng (1712 AD), then re-naming him heir-apparent, only encouraged intrigues for the Throne among the brothers. In the end, Yin Zhen, not the oldest but 4Th Son was granted the title Crown Prince. For centuries it was said that LongKeduo, the General of the Beijing Garrison and uncle of Yin Chen, made use of his unhindered access to The Emperor and secretely exchanged the reall Kang Hsi will with a version forged by the 4Th Son Yin Chen in the handwriting of his father to favor himself Yin Chen (4th Son) as successor to The Throne.
Kang Xi died December 22, 1722 AD. Only recently (2009) it was shown on the basis of the true and original will document of Kang Xi that indeed the succession by Yin Chen was completely legal and just.
KANG XI ENCYCLOPEDIA & DICTIONARY:
Kang Hsi ordered the compilation of the famous Kang Hsi 10.000 volume "Completed collection of Graphs and Writings of Ancient and Modern Times" and another work of Science and Writing Kang Hsi's "Kang Xi Dictionary". The Qing ruling system included the five various types of ethnic minorities ensuring support from all social groups of the large Empire. During the Kangxi Reign a (new) translation of the Muslim Holy Book Koran into chinese was created.
CONTINUING EARLY CHINESE RELATIONS WITH THE WEST:
Intelligent and eager to learn Kang Hsi took on foreign scientists at his Court teaching him western science, technology and philosophy, giving him a chance to get aquainted with their culture and ways. It was under his reign that famed Jesuit fathers Verbiest and Pereira resided at the Ching Court in Beijing.
Between the years 1671 to 1673 Verbiest became the the mathematics tutor of the Kangxi Emperor and it is recorded that in those days the lessons were often intense, with Verbiest entering the "Forbidden City" of the Emperor at the dawn of light, and after being led to the private chambers of the Emperor within the Inner Court, and spending time there until three or four in the afternoon. Altogether Verbiest spent 5 months of these years to teach the Emperor about the superior western skills of mathematics and helped him to understand more of the brilliant work the Jesuit Priests (Verbiest and his predecessor Schall von Bell) had delivered working on several Calendars, which were of huge political importance in establishing the Qing Dynasties claim to the "Mandate of Heaven".
With the start of the "Three Feudatories Rebellion (1673 AD - 1681 AD)" new military requirements would shift the focus of the task of the Jesuits at court away from astronomy and mathematics, and shifted it towards the applied sciences.
Under Kangxi's later Reign, the first Roman Catholic Papal Mission (De Tournon) to China was undertaken (1703-1705 AD), soon leading into the first problems and strife with the European nations (Spain,Portugal, Netherlands and France). Papal envoy De Tournon clearly lacked the finesse of Verbiest and other Jesuits and managed to thoroughly offend Emperor Kang Hsi, not only by his lack of respect for chinese ways (he refused to kowtow, and ignorantly wrote on 5 clawed dragon papers to the emperor), but mainly for proposing to take away Kang Hsi's Imperial Authority over the Jesuits and establish an autonomous Papal-directed Jesuit Embassy in Beijing. De Tournon was immediatly expelled from China (1705 AD) and was returned to the Portugese Colony at Macau. De Tournon's secretary was imprissoned in Beijing for offending the court.
Kang Hsi therafter predicted the future troubles China would have with the Europeans.
Since 1700 AD the missionaries had been a growing problem to the Imperial Court and in 1703 AD the first measures were taken to limit their subversive actions in China. Since 1669 AD (Verbiest-Schall incident) the missionaries had merely been forbidden to preach and wander in the inner provinces. In 1703 AD missionaries were required by Imperial Edict to register and declare intent to stay in China for life, thus fixing their loyalties to the Imperial Court rather than the Pope and Rome, or respective Kings and Governements. Futhermore, all missionaries were asked to adhere to the principles of respect for China's culture as proscribed by first Jesuit Father Mattheo Ricci (in 1669 AD, after Jesuit Schall had provoked the first incident of offending of chinese cultural dignity). Those that did not wish to comply were deported and exiled. As a result China was temporarily saved from European invasions.
Legacy: Kangxi is widely honored as THE Most influencial statesman-Emperor of the later Feudal-Chinese History. The period of his Reign is also noted for its early blossoming of East to West relations, at first mediated exclusively through the Portugese trading contacts and more importantly through the work of a small but effective group of Jesuit missionaries working as mathematicians and scientists for the Kangxi Emperor. In the later period of the Kangxi Reign during the 18Th century East to West relations were expanded through contacts with the Russians, and subsequently the French.
RELIGION UNDER KANGXI:
Although the Christian Religion saw an unprecedented period of blossom under auspices of Ferdinand Verbiest (1623 AD - 1688 AD) who was the by al means the Grand Patron of the Missions in China, their were still huge problems and the Christians all lived under the recurring threat of State Prosecution. Although the court may have had special reasons to be inclined towards this new Foreign Faith, in the Provinces far away from the Capital all of this meant little. While Verbiest maneuvered carefully under the umbrella of the Emperors personal favors, Christians met with severe problems throughout the larger Nation. Not only did the Christians preach a new and foreign faith, which was by its very nature suspicious, in all respects, the Kangxi Reign of the Qing Dynasty is not known as being an era of particular religious freedom.
In fact, in a situation were a foreign peoples, the Manchu, had to impose their rule on the large number of Chinese people, it was inevitable that Government control would only increase.
Freedom of speech was not encouraged in the first place, and of course throughout Chinese history secret religious societies and sects had attempted to overthrow the throne. It seems that in this case the Manchu seem to have fully adapted the ways of previous Chinese Dynasties, and control of what we would consider "the media" was tight, government suspicion was high and in several stages, priests and practitioners of all faiths found themselves under tighter government scrutiny.
Towards the end of his reign the Kangxi Emperor clearly indicated his increasing interest in Confucianism, which with its ancient set of strict rules for social behavior, implied that the Qing Dynasty (1644 A.D. - 1911 A.D.) sought to tighten the hold of the Throne on the daily lives of the people. All of course, in order to solidify the Rule of the Manchu people over the Han Chinese, who made up the far majority of the citizenry. One way to do this was to restrict religious activities and Buddhist monks had for some time been obliged to seek a "Piao" (Entry Ticket) which permitted them rights to stay and wether or not they were allowed to preach. The Buddhist Monks were ordered to carry these "Piao" upon their persons at all times, making it a virtual passport and enabling the Government to control who could preach and where they were allowed to go.
The Life and Reign of Xuan Yeh, Kang Xi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (Reign: 1661 - 1722 AD) :
THREE FEUDATORIES REBELLION:
As was a recurring event in the feudal history of China, Generals who are given or who achieve great powers may become a threat to the trone. And so it was the case in the earliest years of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor.
In his quest to rid the south of China of the Ming, General Wu San Wei had become a very powerful man, in charge of most of the armies in the south, and by effect, the ruler of his own sort of Feudatory, in the South. There, General Wu San Wei reigned Supreme, paying little attention but word service to the Emperor of Qing in the North. The situation existed for a while, however did not satisfy the court at all. As such, some years after the official coronation of the young Kangxi Emperor in 1667 AD and his coming of age, the Court recognized Wu San Wei's continuing Feudal Rule as the number one problem before the throne. In 1672 Wu was called to Beijing to face the Emperor, however -sensing the obvious danger- he refused to go and instead dug himself in inside his realm composed of Shaanxi, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces. A Year later, Wu San Wei nevertheless "resigned" counting on the usual traditions by means of which his Son would inherit his Title and thus the rule of the feudatory. However, in an important decision which marked the coming line of the Kangxi Rule, the Emperor instead made decision to break with tradition and instead ensure the consolidation of central powers emenating from the Qing Capital in Beijing. By Edict, the Three Feudatories were abolished, and General Wu San kwei saw his Son loose his Title as well as the Rule of the Realm. This sparked of the massive "Three Feudatories Rebellion", the first large political crisis within the Empire since 1644 AD, which in the end worked out well for Kangxi and the continuance of Manchu Qing Rule.
In the "Three Feudatories" (1673 AD - 1681 AD) period (a chinese Civil War caused by misjudgement of the situation by the Emperor himself according to Kangxi) Kangxi gained himself the legendary title of Greatest Miltairy Leader, taking the dangerous but necessary steps to gain more control over Chinese Territories and their societies. The war efforst was helped considerably by the presence of the western, jesuit priests as Court. Its is recored that twice, the Christian Mission Leader of Beijing and leading Court Astronomer Ferdinand Verbiest was instrumental in the creation of new canons for the Imperial Army. The canons were used to great effect in taking down otherwise impenetrable defenses of the rebels, and helped gain the eventual victory that came in the year 1681.
over the last remaining Ming Heirs. The Birmese far prefered peace with the Chinese over an invasion by foreign refugees into their realm and gladly delivered the Ming "Emperor" and the 14 year old crown Prince, both of whom were executed by means of strangulation. Thus, free from interference, the Kangxi Emperor could finally set to work on the consolidation of the new Dynasty over all its subjects and all regions of the entire realm.
Achievements : The Kangxi Emperor is listed as the longest reigning Emperor in the History of China with 61 years. Proud of Manchu ancestry and tradition he was most important in the consolidation of the Manchu Rule over the conquered China.
In 1662 AD , during the wars between the Northern (Khalkha) and Western (Ulot) Mongols, the so-called Tanggot Khalka's, tribes of Mongolia, found themselves besieged and surrounded enough by their enemies to offer submission to the Manchu Throne. (Tanggot Khalkha was and is a tiny and deserted territory, of not more than 12 by 15 miles, which is said to have a population of about 500 people. Before 1622 the Tanggot Khalka Tribe was fiercely independent. Until failry recently there are practically no Han Chinese living in the territory or surrounding regions, and the surrounding districts have a high percentage of ethnic Mongolian inhabitants. The tribe, which traditionally has a prince of its own, was founded by immigrants from the Jasakto Khan division of Outer Mongolia, who fled to Inner Mongolia. The tribe survived as a small Kingdom throughout the Qing Dynasty (1644 AD - 1911 AD) under protection of the Qing Throne.).
Two years later, another one of the quarreling Khalka Tribes followed in the trail of the Tanggot Khalka. These, the Khalka East Wing Banner as they became known later, were popularly known as the "Chokhor Halh" and the ruler of this banner was the descendant of Gombo-Ilden, the fifth generation grandson to Gersenz Jalair Khan. They fled from the Zasakto Khan Aimak (Aimag) of Outer Mongolia to regions of Inner Mongolia in 1664, moving within range of the nominal Chinese Border.
According to an article on wikipedia.org its boundaries as given by the Mongol Pastures run 125 by 230 "li", or about 41 by 76 miles, which is a relatively small area. The arrival of these two groups allowed the Qing Court of Beijing a certain leverage over Mongolian Tribes stretched along the border.
China Report - Map of the Great Wall during the Ming Dynasty
Satellite image of China and North-East Asia, with a super-imposed schematic Map of the location and Path of the Great Wall as constructed during the Reign of the Ming Dynasty. Included for reference are City names, geographical features of landscape, Names and locations of Passes on the Great Wall of China.
In the second half of the 17Th Century, Russia was fast rising, militarist, expansionist and colonialist Nation. It expanded rapidly eastward. In 1607 Russians reached the Yenisei River, in 1632 AD they crossed the River Lena and at around the year 1640 AD the first Russians reached the Pacific Ocean far up north in Siberia. From there they decended down among things reaching the Amur (Heilongjiang) River Basin and crossing into formally Chinese (Manchurian) Territory. At the time these territories along the Heilongjiang (Amur) River were but sparsely inhabited by the primitive Daur People, who lived a life of hunting and gathering in the remote forests. Being among the first to feel the pinch of the armed Russian arrival, the Daur had been forced south of their original ancestral lands on the Amur (Heilongjiang) River and moved to south towards the Nenjiang where they were cleverly welcomed by the Manchu Rulers as a "Lost Tribe" and allegiance with the Chinese Empire was so established.
All these events occurred during the reign of Emperor Shun Zhi (1644 A.D. -1662 A.D.), a period during which the Manchu were still establishing their rule over the Chinese Realm, and more or less had their hands tied fighting the remaining Ming Dynasty.
They could not respond to the newly arriving threat on the far northern borders of their ancestral manchu homeland. In 1643 AD a first Russian Invasion was therefor met only by the Daur People, a fact which is remembered to this day.
Although the Daur remember it as a patriotic Battle, the Russians with their modern fire-arms won, and therefor were able to consolidate their position. While the Daur were defeated and many integrated into the growing Manchu Armies, in 1651 the Russians (Cossacks) built their easternmost military fortification and town at Albazin (Today: Albazino (Russian: Албазино́) is a village (selo) in Skovorodinsky District of Amur Oblast, Russia, noted as the site of Albazin (Албазин) on the Amur River in effect laying a claim to these lands.
Although the Manchu Rulers considered the Russian Fortress a thorough infringement on the Chinese rights to territories, the could do little about it for the time being. After the final demise of the Ming, another internal crisis came and the Manchu Imperial Court found itself yet again too busy to attend to the Russian threat while fighting the "Three Feudatories" in the South of China. In the aftermath of the destruction of Albazin Fortress and its subsequent reoccupation and reconstruction, a first Russian diplomatic mission had been sent to Beijing in 1656 (Baikov), but this mission, the subsequent one in 1658 and several others had little result as the Manchu had no desire for outside contacts, were annoyed at the Russian invasion tactics, nor wanted to trade with Barbarians such as the Russians.
By the time of the 1670's, where earlier had only been vast expanses of territory virtually uninhabeted, the Russians had effectively become the Chinese and Manchurian neighbors in the North in the process also ending part of the Chinese isolation from outside influences. All the Manchu Court could do to avert the Russian inroads was to mobilize the local Tribes that inhabited the regions and who had been allies during the period leading up to the invasion of China in 1644 A.D. While the Russians had more or less free reign in the border area's, several of these tribes, such as the Torhuut Mongols, fell under the influence of the Russians.
The situation only changed with the end of the Civil War of the "Three Feudatories" in the year 1681, and it shows the assertiveness of the Young Emperor Kangxi and the Manchu Court to a great degree that in the very next year already, the Emperor himself rode out with a large military force in order to attend to the situation.
In the year 1682 the Kangxi Emperor and a large retinue leave the Northern Gate of Divine Might of the Forbidden City and ride out of the Capital Beijing, for the first time leading massive Military Expedition north of the Great Wall of China. The 1682 Tour leads east to Shanhaiguan in order to pay hommage to the opening of the "First gate under Heaven" to the Qing Military Might in 1644 AD, to inspect the Fortress and then to gather a military force for an exercise and a show of military might in the Eastern Regions of Manchuria. Via the Liaodong Peninsula, the troops eventually reach Kirin (Jilin City) on the Songhua River in regions increasingly disturbed by bands of invading Russians.
In the spring and summer of the very next year a similar military expedition roams the western Manchurian reaches, traversing the Great Wall of China no less that four times. It is a prelude to increasing Chinese assertiveness against Russian cross border claims.
On his military expeditions the Kangxi Emperor was accompanied by his loyal Court Mathematician, the father Ferdinand Verbiest (Life: 1623 AD - 1688 AD), who was responsible for the measurement and coumentation of all sorts of things found along the way, with the aim of converting the information into a new and better map of the Chinese territories. In the process of this, Verbiest - exhilarated with the fantastic sights of the continuous and seemingly endless wall, made the first known European measurements of the height of the Great Wall.
DEFEAT OF WARLORD ZHENG KESHUANG (KOXINGA) AND TAKING OF FORMOSA (TAIWAN):
Having layed a better foundation for Manchu Rule over the Chinese realm with the defat of the "Three Feudatories" the Manchu take the offensive to their enemies. While the Kangxi Emperor is out facing the Russian threat and displaying Imperial Prowess in the North, other Qing Troops under ultimate command of Kangxi mob up other rebellious forces such as the "Pirate Forces" of Warlord Zheng Keshuang (Son of Original conquering Qing General), who had occupied large parts of the Shandong Peninsula since the end period of the Ming Dynasty, and also held sway over the Island of Formosa (Taiwan). In 1683 AD the Qing fleets arrived and managed to re-conquer Taiwan (1683 AD), in effect unifying China once more and sealing the effect of the new Mandate of Heaven upon the Manchu realm.
Verbiest, died in in 1688 and received an Imperial Funeral of unseen greatness. He was laid to rest in the same cemetery as Matte Ricci and his tomb was made of white marble and inscribed with imperial honors, all paid for by the Imperial Coffers. It was a fitting end to a unique carrier of which also the Chinese Communist Party recognizes the great historical importance. Among things he had changed the Chinese knowledge of the Cosmos and created an accurate Chinese Calendar. Due to his influence, later the Georgian Calendar system was adopted. And, also of great importance, he had helped save the Manchu Dynasty from its enemies in the "Three Feudatories Rebellion" by delivering a great number of guns. It was noted that all this he had done without the slightest desire of personal profit or material gains.
As for the Christians in China, protected in part by the high rank achieved by their patron, by the end of the 17th Century, there were an estimated 200.000 Christian Converts in China, and several Christian Missions in major Chinese Cities. They were however still by no means encouraged. Both the general populace, as well as dignitaries of the Government apparatus remained mostly averse of the odd Foreigners with their seemingly hostile religion.
With the vital help of the Jesuit Courtiers who served as translators and go between's, in 1689 the Manchu Empire signed a Peace Treaty with the Russians at the small town of Nerchinsk. Regardless of the high respect the Jesuits (mainly Verbiest) had gained in court circles, their religion remained outlawed throughout China.
Later in the same year a persecution of Christians broke out in Zhejiang Province under orders of the Provincial Governor which corresponded with the Imperial Edict which Kangxi had announced in 1699; saying in essence that no one was allowed to preach, and that conversions to Christianity were banned.
Three years later, in 1692, the Emperor issued an new Edict which seemed to approve of Christianity, in reality, the situation remained tense and the Kangxi Emperor did not do much to encourage Christianity either. In fact, the Edict in favor of Christianity had at first been refused by the Board of Rites, and only after the Emperor insisted it had been adopted as official policy. For the time being.
The Northern Church of Beijing, originally the Western Cathedral of the Beijing Jesuits. The Oldest Church flock in Beijing and untill 1949 AD Home of the Beijing Diocese.
Originally located inside what is now ZhongNanhai, the Church moved to XiShiKu and became the Northern Church. Visit inside the reclusive but green grounds, take part in a mass, or find your way to the St. Joseph Convent.
Although the Kangxi Emperor grew increasingly annoyed with communications received from the Pope, he knew of the high value of the help he had received from the Jesuits at his Court and thus had no desire to break off connections with the Europeans entirely.
In 1693 a first group of French Missionaries arrived at the Court in Beijing, in effect breaking the Portugese monopoly on trade and other contacts with the Chinese. In hindsight we can say that it was the end of an Era, however at the the times the Portugese by no means wished to concede, and through various ways, the event sparked of major troubles between Portugal and Spain, taking great effect on religious matters regarding China as well.
In 1694 the Kangxi Emperor awarded these French missionaries the rights to build a Church in Beijing, which by definition brought them into a relation of competition with existing Portugese supported Jesuit Mission in the Imperial Capital. When a second French Mission, counting 10 new Missionaries, is accepted by the Court, one to stay in Beijing as practitioner of Medicine for the Court and the rest setting up shop in various Chinese cities, Portugese outrage is complete. Church relations will sour according to Nationalist matters and mutual chauvinism.
On December 9 of the year 1703 AD, in recognition of the incredible feats achieved by Verbiest and his predecessors Ricci and Schall von Bell, the Bei Tang (North Church) - named the Church of the Saint Savior, was opened on its original location near the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Church caried an Imperial Inscription signifying its high approval and was the third such Church in the capital City.
By the year 1704, however the western misunderstanding of Chinese Culture communicated from Rome grew to a level that was no longer tolerable and the Christian position at court so carefully crafted by Verbiest was gradually lost.
The Institute of Indulgences was a center in charge of court painters under the "Workshop Section" of the Imperial Household Department during the Qing Dynasty (1644 A.D. - 1911 A.D.). Foreign artists served there and made important contributions by introducing European styles of painting to China. Guiseppe Castiglione (Chinese:Lang Shining ), an Italian artist became the foremost of these.
Castiglione was born in Italy in 1688, the year of Father Ferdinand Verbiest's passing, but in 1715 Castiglione would follow in Verbiest's footpath, being sent to the Court in Beijing through the channels built by the Jesuit missionaries.
He was an excellent figure, flower and animal-and-bird painter and his naturalist works were widely appreciated at the Imperial Court in Beijing. His works are are lifelike an exquisite and of a quality never before seen in China, where painting traditions had developed in entirely different directions. Thus, Castiglione became a producer of large scale picture scrolls which reflected political life of that period and since have been proven to be of great historical value.
GARDEN OF PERFECT BRIGHTNESS (YUANMING YUAN) :
Guiseppe Castiglione, together with other missionaris, also participated in the designing of the Yuanmingyuan Garden (Garden of Perfect Brightness ; 圆明园), the construction of which began in the year 1707 of the Kangxi Reign and which, with due rights, would become another famous and fabled Imperial Garden and Palace in Beijing. Historically known as the first Summer Palace of Beijing involving many unique features of european design,the construction on this Garden would go on under succeeding Emperors, and would be the pride of the Qianlong Emperor, the gardn son of Kangxi.
In the year 1860 AD at the end of the second "Opium War" (Arrow War), the Palace and Garden were pillaged and on orders of Lord Elgin (2nd) burnt down by invading
European Forces. The European style gardens and buildings of the Yuanmingyuan (圆明园) were in large part inspired by Castiglione, who as an artist was the far superior of his fellow Jesuits.
Altogether, after his arrival in the Imperial Capital of Beijing in 1715 AD, Castiglione lived in the city for 50 years, during which time he produces numerous paintings. Long after the passing off his first boss, the Kangxi Emperor, he died in Beijing in 1766 at the age of 78.
YouTube Video: Emperor Kangxi's reign and the Forbidden City in Beijing.
DEFEAT OF THE RUSSIANS IN NORTHERN MANCHURIA (HEILONGJIANG) - ALLIANCE WITH DAUR PEOPLE:
Subsequently, with the Kangxi Emperor back at Court Manchu Troops move north from Kirin to the Amur River Basin and a siege is layed to the the Russian Fortress. In 1685 the Manchu Troops go on to destroy the Albazin Fortress and defeat the Russians at the Kerulan River which now still forms the border of HeilongJiang Province , fixing the part of EurAsia south of the river Kerulan for China. This is a major victory, and in order to hang on to the vital territory in the face of the Russians in subsequent years the Daur People are well integrated into the Manchu Army.
Inclusion of Mongolia as a chinese protectorate, a very diplomatic and strategic manouver by Kang Hsi making possible further expansions of Chinese Empire towards the West and North-West defeating Mongol and Turkish Tribes (1890's)(now minorities of China).
1696 DEFEAT OF GALDAN KHAN AND TERRITORIAL EXPANSION INTO EAST AND WEST MONGOLIA:
Some of the most exquisite porcelain of the Qing Dynasty Era (1644 AD - 1911 AD) was produced during the Kangxi Reign Period. In this Era the porcelain families of the Famille Verte (康熙五彩, Kangxi wucai, also 素三彩, Susancai), the Famille Jaune (Yellow), The Famille Noire and the Famile Rose (known in Chinese as Fencai (粉彩) or Ruancai (軟彩, simplified 软彩) lines of porcelain were introduced, the latter probably around 1720 AD near the very end of the Kangxi Reign. The Famile Rose is said to have incorporated the most of western influnces at the time as it used beforehad unused colors, mainly pink or purple, The Famille Rose became a very succesful export product and remained popular throughout the 18th and the 19th centuries.
The Famille Verte style of ceramic enamel decoration uses green and iron red with other overglaze colours. It developed from the Wucai (五彩, "Five colors") style and as such is considered one of the highest developed forms of glazing and porcelain making. Famille jaune is a variation using famille verte enamels on a yellow ground. Famille rose enamel ware allows a greater range of colour and tone than was previously possible, enabling the depiction of more complex images, including flowers, figures and insects. Although, not generally used in China, internationally these commonly used French terms for 'families', or palettes of enamel colours used on Chinese porcelain have become terms used to classify Chinese porcelain by its colour palette.
It is made by drawing a sketch on the shaped clay, which is then covered with 'glassy white' (bo li bai), an opaque white enamel (lead arsenate), and painted in detail with the mixture of pigment and oil, before firing, uses green and iron red with other overglaze colours. It developed from the Wucai (五彩, "Five colors") style.
Chinese Kangxi famille-verte porcelain is innovative and with a character all of its own. The multiplicity of designs and their sophistication are to be marvelled at. Often inspired by the Ming novel the 'The Three Kingdoms' and the' Romance of the Western Chamber'. Many of these designs came from wood block prints at this time. During the Kangxi period new shapes were introduced including the rouleaux and yanyan vases. The Yanyan differs from its Transitional predecessor in that it had become a more balanced and less elongated form. Ginger jars are no longer oviform in shape. Designs on Chinese famille-verte porcelain were drawn with black outlines except in the case of figures where faces were outlined in red. Nearly all the fine porcelain was produced at Jingdezhen but in the case of works of art Canton (current day Guangzhou in Guangdong Province) was an important centre where I suspect some good Chinese famille-verte porcelain was also produced. Jingdezhen was sacked in 1675 but by the end of the century production was once again booming due to demand from Europe, particularly from the Netherlands.
During the Kangxi period there was little regard for archaism which became very popular in the following reigns of Yongzheng and Qianlong, when Imperial porcelain often had seal marks. However, a few pieces of the Kangxi famille-verte porcelain were inspired by early bronzes. It has been suggested that by royal edict only pieces made for the palace could have the reign mark, if this was the case the edict must have been in force for a very short time since many pieces made for export had the six character Kangxi mark. It depended on the shape of an export piece as to whether it was marked. Kangxi famille-verte porcelain vases for example were seldom marked at all whereas dishes and bowls were frequently marked but usually with the Chenghua mark or more rarely with the Xuande mark. Unlike Transitional blue and white porcelain, where the decoration has a very 'tight' quality and the perspective is often somewhat flat, Kangxi famille-verte drawing is more integrated, has a charming rhythm and a much truer to life perspective. At their best the green and blue enamels
Examples of Kangxi Era Famile Verte Charger (above) and Plate (below) decorated with a Flowers in Vase motif and surrounded by depictions of various other flowers popular in China at the Time.
used are translucent, iridescent and clean; rising well above the surface. One characteristic of Kangxi famille-verte is that the iridescence is pronounced around the blue and green enamels where the glaze has contracted. (However, there are exceptions to the rule) Towards the end of the Kangxi period famille-verte porcelain gave way to porcelain with new colours including, pink (the primary colour in famille-rose) opaque yellow, and opaque lime-green and opaque turquoise. It is thought that some of these new colours were brought about by Western influence transmitted through the Jesuit presence. It is worth noting that as a generalization that as the Qing Dynasty progressed the designs became more detailed and delicate.
Both Kangxi export and Imperial porcelain based on early proto-types tended to be over crowded. There are at least fifty 19th century copies of Chinese famille-verte porcelain for every genuine piece, and to make things more difficult new and very good copies are coming out of China (P.R.C.) today. The 19th century copies are usually very easy to detect as the foot rims are usually quit rough compared with the rims on the genuine pieces which are first cut with a knife and then smoothed over with a brush.
Chinese Kangxi famille-verte porcelain has
very refined paste producing a fine grained porcelain and the glaze tends to be thin, with a luminous and slightly blue glaze whereas the glaze on the 19th century copies are often thicker, thus heavier and very greyish in comparison. The copies tend to have lack lustre poor enamels and often no iridescence around the enamels. To differentiate between the best copies and the originals is a matter of 'eye'. The experienced collector will see that the copies of Chinese famille-verte porcelain lack visual rhythm and the enamels and colours are slightly off. One further point worth mentioning is the potting. Eighteenth century Chinese porcelain has been potted so the weight is nicely balanced. This is particularly noticeable in the case of bowls which feel very good in the hand whereas in the 19th century most of the weight resides in the base.
In the late 19th century when Europe's love for all things Chinese reached a new highpoint the ever popular Kangxi Period ceramics were copied and reproduced in order to satisfy a large international demand. In China excellent fakes of Kangxi period famille noire wares convincing enough to deceive the experts of the day were produced in fairly large quantaties Although many "faked" pieces have been identified, many others remain in circulation or may even be seen in museums today, as may pieces of genuine Kangxi porcelain decorated in the late nineteenth century with famille noire enamels.
A body of modern expert opinion holds that porcelain decorated with famille noire enamels was not made at all during the Kangxi period, though this view is disputed.
FIRST CHINESE TROOPS IN TIBET SINCE THE TANG DYNASTY ERA (618 AD - 907 AD):
In 1717 AD during the very last years of the life and reign of the Kangxi Emperor, Dzungars of East-Turkestan, enemies of the Manchu Court and thus the Chinese nation, invade the Nation of Tibet. Soon they start destroying Tibetan Monasteries and Cultural Treasures drawing outrage among the Population as well as a swift response from the nominally Buddhist-Lamaist Ching Court in Beijing.
The 5Th Dalai Lama had payed a court visit to the new Manchu Court in Beijing in the year 1652 under the 1st True Qing Emperor Shunzi. At the time the 5Th Dalai Lama stayed at Court in Beijing for two Months, teaching in Tibetan-Buddhism and Establishing close and warm Relations with the Manchu Qing, who were themselves followers of Tibetan Buddhism. Usually not mentioned, but likely equally important in the relationship was the historical and economical factor in which China imported horses for its military from Tibetan area's via the Hexi Corridor in today's Gansu Province in return for which China shipped tea, silks and other much needed goods to Tibet.
Thus, from a current day perspective one might say that theTibetans regarded themselves as very much a different people then the Chinese, and that they lived and operated mostly idependently. owever, from a Chinese perspective, as did the Manchu mperor, one might saay due to the economic relationship in which China was by far the stronger partner, China had at the very least a certain interest in Tibet. The later historic events were further driven by a specific relationship of the Priesthood of the Yellow Hat Sact (Gelugpa) with a Chinese Partners in Mongolia, which is however too complicated to reveal in detail here.
Since their take-over in 1644 AD, the Qing had counted and courted the Tibetans as to be among the Five Main Ethnic Minorities of the Qing Empire and their country was a vital trading partner as well as a strategic region in the then Western Territories of China and Borders. Not only that, with the Rise of Russia over the northern territories formerly inhabited by the unruly nomadaic tribes, the Qing now found their borders, especially those in the West and North, exposed to new kind of enemy. Thus, where in the past China had more or less let the Tibetans be, the new rulers of China were very eager to gain more influence in Tibet.
The region, which had many vital resources and had since long counted a vital side-branch of the Silk Road, was of increasing military and strategic importance.
To illustrate the great importance of the visit of the Tibetan Lama King over for instance the European visits, in advance of the arrival of the Dalai Lama in Beijing, a gigantic White Marble Dagoba (Bai Ta) was constructed within the Imperial Pleasure Park of Beihai (Noth Lake), in clear sight of the Entire City and Imperial Palace Grounds. It still stands today as a lasting Monument to the eventful visit.
Thus, for the Kangxi Emperor the indiscretions of the Muslim Dzungars and their take-over in Tibet were more or less welcomed, as the Dzungars destruction of Buddhist Shrines provided the perfect excuse to interfere more into Tibetan affairs and also gain further standing and allegeance with the ruling "Yellow Hat Sect" which had been temporarily deposed from the Tibetan Capital in Lhasa.
Providing a strong response, characteristic for the decisive ruling style of Kangxi, the very next year, in 1718 AD a First assault by Qing Armies is launched against the Islamic Dzungars in Tibet from the territories of Yunnan Province. At first the is repelled and defeated but in 1720 AD, the year of the death of Kangxi, the Manchu Troops are succesful and Islamic Dzungar Rulers of East-Turkestan are evicted from Lhasa and Tibet.
In the aftermath the Kangxi Emperor is shrewd enough to keep on a military garrison at Lhasa, and as being the de facto military ruler, leaves a Chinese Official, a so called "Amban" to "oversee" the Tibetan Affairs as conducted by the newly installed Dalai Lama and his Government. In reality however, the Chinese Garrison is but a small force, logistically disconnected from Qing Dynasty China, in an area without any roads and surrounded by a vast and deadly high altitude wilderness. Although Tibetans pay lip service to the Chinese for a while, they vastly outnumber the Chinese Garrison. In daily life they proceed on independently, living life as Tibetans had before the Muslim invasion.
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the offensive against the Galdan Khan. The operation lasted throughout the year and into 1697 AD but eventually all the teritories of the west of the current day Republic of Mongolia were taken. Several large and small military bases were established in towns along the way, which in turn established a first opportunity for traveling traders to expand their business into Mongolian Teritories. The main Manchu basses in central and western Mongolia are today known as Uliastay and Khovd (Duund Us), whereas within Inner Mongolia the town of Hohhot became a crucial linking point. Where previously the Mongolian territory had begun just beyond the Da Jing Gate of Kalgan, the cultural border was now more or less redundant and the Chinese trading routes could be opened into Mongolian Territories and later even beyond. Thus the road extended from Kalgan and Datong on the Great Wall, to Hohhot near the Yellow River and to Ningxia which had been retaken. From there, the trade routes plied by carts and caravans could lead up north to Ulaanbataar or to Uliastay and Khovd.
The Manchu victory over their main rivalling neighbors various west-Mongolians led by Galdan Khan, had not merely military and political results, it much more far reaching effects. The inclusion of all of Mongolia into the Manchu Empire for the first time allowed for significant cultural and economical exchange between the two territories. Trade had been outright forbiden since the establishment of the Ming Dynasty in 1368 AD and although it was re-established on a limited basis in 1571 AD in the decline of the Ming, for all practical purposes Mongolia had been another country. That is, teritories unknown , unmapped and undeveloped due to the still largely nomadic lifestyle of the inhabitants.
Interestingly, the Kangxi Emperor's armed Expedition into Mongolia also finally dispensed with the relevance of the Great Wall of China as a functional type border. Realizing this, the Emperor had the momentous victory an political shift commemorated by having an inscription carved upon a cliff that overlooks the main "front door" of the Zhangjiakou Fortress, the Da Jing Gate (Gate to the Great Territories). Translated into English the text reads: "Both Sides of the (Great) Wall Have Been United".
The Fortified "Pass City" of Zhangjiakou had previously (since 1571 AD) grown to be the main "Horse Market" i.e. designated trading point along the Great Wall of China, however in the same year the trading arrangements with Mongolia through the system of "Horse Markets" was abolished and instead an Imperial Decree from the Kangxi Emperor installed a Licensing system in which a very limited number of trading permits was "awarded", the awardees having the exclusive right to trod and trade within the newly vanquished lands of the Mongolian Tribes. The disappearance of the "border" with Mongolia ended the lucrative horse markets in the cities on the Great Wall however it replaced them with new far greater trading opportunities. Among things, it was to become the beginning of a new boom period in trans-Eurasian trade and contacts.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE AT REHE (CHENGDE) IN HEBEI PROVINCE:
In the year 1703 AD the Kangxi Emperor designated the valley at Rehe (Today's Chengde in Hebei Province), previously much favored as a rich hunting ground situated at convenient distance from Beijing yet inside the Manchurian homeland where the wilder lifestyle of the Manchu could still serve it purpose, as the location of a brand new Imperial Palace. This Palace became the "Imperial Fleeing the Heat Mountain Villa (Bishu Shanzhuang)" at Chengde, which today is preserved as one of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. With this decree Kangxi became the founding father of now world famous Imperial Palace at Chengde a place of much history and plentyfull scenic beauties.