AMIOT, JEAN JOSEPH MARIE (1718-1793), French Jesuit missionary, was born at Toulon in February 1718. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1737 and was sent in 1750 as a missionary to China. He soon won the confidence of the emperor Kien-lung and spent the remainder of his life at Beijing, where he died on the 9th of October 1793. Amiot was eminently fitted to make good use of the advantages which his situation afforded, and his works did more than had ever been done before to make known to the Western world the thought and life of the Far East. His Dictionnaire tatare-mantchou-francais (Paris, 1789) was a work of great value, the language having been previously quite unknown in Europe. His other writings are to be found chiefly in the Memoires concernant l’histoire, les sciences et les arts de Chinois (15 vols., Paris, 1776-1791). The Vie de Confucius, the twelfth volume of that collection, is complete and accurate.
For full bibliography see De Backer and C. Sommervogel, Bibliotheque de la Cie. de Jesus, i. 294-303; for his works on Chinese music see F. J. Fetis, Biog. univers. des musiciens (Brussels, 1837-1844).
Source: 1911 encyclopedia.
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