|Represented (top): Father Matteo Ricci, Father Adam Schaal, and Father Ferdinand Verbiest|
Bottom: Paul Siu (Xu Guangqi), Colao or Prime Minister of State; Candide Hiu, grand-daughter of Colao Paul Siu.
You may also recall that I wrote about the Kangxi Emperor, who issued a statement basically condemning and banishing Christians as troublemakers and simpletons unable to grasp the intricacies of this five-thousand year-old culture. There are still people here today who feel that we can never understand the Chinese mind or culture. Despite his disgust with the Dominicans and Franciscans who rejected ancient Confucian practices of ancestor worship, the Kangxi Emperor had in Verbiest a valued adviser. Verbiest was the only Westerner in Chinese history to ever receive the honor of a posthumous name from the Emperor.
|The steam 'car' designed by Verbiest in 1672 – from an 18th century print|
Steam was generated in a ball-shaped boiler, emerging through a pipe at the top, from where it was directed at a simple, open 'steam turbine' (rather like a water wheel) that drove the rear wheels.
It is not known if Verbiest's model was ever built at the time, although he had access to China's finest metal-working craftsmen who were constructing precision astronomical instruments for him.
The Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Verbiest is full of the fascinating trials and tribulations that Verbiest experienced whilst in China. For further reading, you may want to see their description of his life and time.
Source: "Ferdinand Verbiest." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 18 Dec. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Verbiest>.