Matteo Ricci and other famous Jesuit missionaries in China.
More commonly known as Jesuits, the Society of Jesus sent many missionaries to China between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. In addition to Christianity they introduced Western science, technology, and art to China, and returned to Europe with Chinese philosophies and aesthetics, which in turn influenced Western thought.
The Society of Jesus, a Catholic order whose missionaries worked in China between 1582 and 1773, was critically important to the global exchange of knowledge and ideas during this time. As renowned scientists and artists, Jesuit missionaries introduced contemporary Western science and technology to China during the late Ming (1368–1644) and early Qing (1644–1912) dynasties. As cartographers, they provided both China and the West with an image of their place in the world. As missionaries, they reintroduced China to Christianity and sparked a fascination with Confucianism in Europe that fueled Enlightenment thought and led to Chinese studies as a field of interest.