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  • br Authors and motivations As mentioned

    2018-11-02


    Authors and motivations As mentioned on the title page, the authors were “missionaries from Northern China”, which means that the work is collective and anonymous. The fact that the book was written in French, prefaced from Tamingfou and published at the printing house of Sien-Hsien, suggests that the authors were French members of the Society of Jesus. Daming 大名 (Daming county, far south of the Herbei province) and Xianxian 献县 (Cangzhou prefecture, Hebei province), belonged to the apostolic vicariate of Southeastern Chi-Li (Zhili 直隶), renamed apostolic vicariate of Sien Hsien in 1924, that French Jesuits ruled from its creation in 1856 to its transfer to Chinese clergy in 1936 (Figure 1). The book was published with the authorization (or imprimatur) of the apostolic vicar of Southeastern Chi-Li and the superior of the mission, both Jesuits. Research in the central archives of the Jesuits in Rome revealed the identity of the handbook׳s author. Every year, the superiors of every Jesuit province send a detailed report to the father General, the heard of the Society of Jesus in Rome. These reports or annual letters (litterae annuae) are written in Latin. The annual letter of 1926–1927, sent by the mission of Xianxian, mentions: “New books (…): Father Jung, one volume: ‘Le missionnaire constructeur’ collects information based on experience about how to build churches, schools and residences. The text has 66 pages, a illustrates 54 figures; it deals with place, climate, the kind of ornament, what presently troubles artists very much, material, and the treatment of both contractors and workers”. Father Paul Jung was a French Jesuit of the province of Champagne, born in 1863, arrived in China in 1897 and died in China in 1943. In 1926, he was the superior of the Jesuit zip inhibitor and college of Daming. Father Jung was thus not an architect but a teacher, an administrator and preacher. In the Society of Jesus, building was usually an activity devoted to brothers, who were no priest, rather than fathers, who were intellectuals and involved with evangelization and education. In all likelihood, father Jung had no practical experience of building but compiled information collected from Jesuit brothers or other builders. This could be the reason why he did not claim the authorship of the handbook. The handbook refers to “a missionary who lived a long time in China, whose architectural knowledge, experience of the country, perfect adaptation, as well as the real beauty of the numerous churches he built, authorize him to have an opinion and to formulate it” (p. 7). In 1926, only one missionary–architect had such an experience in Northern China: father Alphonse De Moerloose (He Gengbai 和羹柏), than aged 68. This missionary was not a French Jesuit but a Belgian priest of the diocese of Beijing, who stayed in China from 1885 to 1929 and built many churches in the Gothic style. Until 1910, De Moerloose had been a Scheut Father and mainly built in the diocese of Central Mongolia after the Boxer Upraising. He worked for Scheut Fathers, Jesuits, Lazarists and Trappists, all French and Belgian missionaries in Northern China. The cathedral of Xuanhua 宣化 (Hebei province), built in 1903–1906, is the best preserved of his large churches. In 1922, the Jesuits of Shanghai commissioned him to design the basilica of Our-Lady at Zose (Sheshan 佘山) on the outskirts of Shanghai, the construction of which began in 1925. In an unpublished letter from 1925, father De Moerloose wrote: “I was often asked if there existed a practical construction handbook for missionaries, but there is nothing. Bishops and missionaries asked me to do something like that. I had the project to do this: 1° an album with realized churches, altars and other church furniture; 2° a description about how to build, materials, etc. from the beginning to the end of the works. But I do not dare beginning because of the reason I mentioned”. The reason was that archbishop Celso Costantini (Gang Hengyi 刚恒毅), the apostolic delegate sent by pope Pius XI to China in 1922, criticized his churches because they were Gothic. As we will see later, Costantini was commissioned to implement the inculturation process in China and promoted a Sino-Christian style. At this stage, we must keep in mind that De Moerloose had the intention to write a handbook, but was deeply perturbed by the new line of the Vatican. This allows us to formulate the hypothesis that Jesuit friends of De Moerloose collected information from him and published it anonymously. Except the handbook, we have no proof that father De Moerloose and father Jung knew each other. It is worth mentioning that De Moerloose had published 25 years earlier a couple of short articles on Chinese building techniques and craftsmanship, and that the archives preserve a notebook with sketches of traditional agricultural tools from the Gansu province and Chinese terminology. These sources reveal his interest in Chinese construction and technique.