Historical research

Historical background: Hallerstein (Liu Songling)

Who is Liu Songling, who is Hallerstein? Although we can state that he is the pride of Slovenians and the pride of China, 99% of the Slovenians and 99,9% of the Chinese probably never heard of him. Even fewer people are aware of the fact that these are one and the same person.

He was a man from Carniola, a Jesuit from Mengeš, and is better known in scientific circles around Europe than in his homeland or in China, where he spent 31 years as a head of the Imperial Astronomical Bureau and Board of Mathematics. In Europe he is well known all the way from London, Paris and St. Petersburg, he was a member of the respective academies of science; to Germany and Austria where he published his scientific essays, to Rome (advisers: Pater Danieluk, The Archive of the Jesuit’s Curia in Rome and Dr. Ivan Rebernik, Slovenian Embassy in the Vatican) and to Lisbon, where his correspondence has been found; and even to Budapest where translations of his letters were published as early as the end of the 18th century. In Slovenia, only lately the details of his life are becoming clearer. In recent years he has attracted the attention of Chinese historians as the creator of the most intriguing astronomic instrument at the old Beijing observatory, the spherical astrolabe, a “celestial globe”.

Augustin Ferdinand Von Hallerstein (1703- 1774) researched themselves fields of astronomy, geography and mathematics. He was a missionary and devout Jesuit, honered by the court of the Emporer of China with the title “Mandarin”. A. Hallerstein lived at the Manchurian imperial court from 1739 until 1774.

Objectives of the project Hallerstein

Partners will make a list of potential institutional as well individual researchers, organising networking of the researchers. The researchers will deal with historical documents, making it possible to collect them in electronic versions, gathering together all data and knowledge of Hallerstein. Within the frame of project Hallerstein, several symposiums in China and Europe will be organised, to bring together scientists, researchers, historians and sinologues, who are already interested in the hidden life-story and achievements of Hallerstein, a European scientist who lived in China for many years.

Maribor, Slovenia

The introductory symposium Hallerstein in Maribor, KIBLA, March 2008 will be organised by KIBLA. Invited to the symposiums are all partners and special guests from Sinological Department at the Philosophical Faculty, Ljubljana, especially Prof. Dr. Mitja Saje.

Beijing, China

A leading Chinese partner will be Beijing Language and Culture University (Institute for Sinological Studies), and prof. dr. Zhuo-yue Huang, who will provide information referential to Chinese part of the research, organising a symposium (2008) in Beijing, and be a functional node later, networking of the art performance in China(2008-09), (see below).

Lisbon, Portugal

Representing Portugal are two institutions: The Instituto Politecnico deTomar, at the Portuguese University, Portugal, and the Confucius Institute of the University of Minho, at the Portuguese University, Portugal, especially prof. dr. Sunlin ( of the Confucius Institute at the University of Portugal). These partners will organise a symposium in Lisbon, framed in a wider historical context, presenting Portugal as an important country in the dissemination of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). As a country with a long history of contact with China via the contribution of Jesuits, Portugal will an ideal country to cooperate with our project. In order to paint the wider historical picture more clearly, and to encourage some funding from Portuguese local foundations, we will include a Portuguese Jesuit, for example Tomas Pereira (scientist and musician) who died 300 years ago in China.
Adviser: Peter Bekeš, Slovenian Embassy in Lisbon

Vienna, Austria

Hallerstein lived for a time in Vienna, historical capital of Austro-Hungarian Emporium. A leading Austrian partner will be the Korotan, Slowenische Kulturverein, Vienna, president, dr. Anton Levstek. They will offer their facilities and organize a Hallerstein symposium in Vienna, bringing into communication:
Vienna University, Institute for Sinology,
Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna, adviser: Prof.Dr. Richard Trappl, Director
Vice Director, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna
Jesuit Order (Hallerstein was a member of Jesuit Order) in Vienna
Academy of Science, Vienna
University Archive, Vienna