The Great Encounter of China and the West

1539 words 7 pages
The Great Encounter of China and the West

When the Chinese and Europeans first came into contact with each other, there was a mutual fascination for the other's culture, or way of life. The Chinese began to look at the European culture. They became interested in Western thinking. They were also beginning to look at the religion that the European missionaries were preaching about, Christianity. On the other end, the Europeans who came in contact with the Chinese were fascinated by their culture and their philosophy, mainly the philosophy of Confucius. While the two cultures seemed to be a good match, each respecting and admiring the other, it came to an abrupt halt. The end result was China and Europe both rejecting the other culture.
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Ultimately Christianity was unable to be understood and followed the way the missionaries thought it should be due to cultural differences. The languages were too different. Certain vocabulary and ideas could not be placed into words because such words in the Chinese language did not exist. Europe had a fascination for the Chinese culture and way of thinking. They found the Chinese way of life superior, even though most Europeans had never even seen a Chinese person. Nevertheless, the Europeans enthusiastically embraced the Chinese culture, arts, and manufactures in the early seventeen hundreds. The Chinese philosophy was something that the Europeans revered. Confucianism could be closely related to the Christian religion, although it did not have the divine revelation theory. The Confucianism beliefs appealed to the cultural needs of Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Not only did the Europeans value the Chinese philosophy, but they also valued their arts. Most notably was the influence on porcelains. The Chinese ceramics were in every way superior to that of the Europeans. Chinese porcelain began to be exported to Europe in large quantities. The porcelain production was the greatest interaction between China and Europe in any art form. Unfortunately, this relationship of harmony could not last between the Chinese and the Europeans. The cultures were too different


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