Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Nikita Yakovlevich Bichurin
Nikita Yakovlevich Bichurin, better known under his monastic name Iakinf (August 29, 1777 - May 11, 1853), was one of the founding fathers of Sinology. He was born to a family of Chuvash priest and studied in the Kazan seminary. In 1802 he was tonsured with the name Iakinf and sent to promote Christianity in Beijing, where he would spend 14 years. The genuine objects of his interest were Chinese history and language. He was forthwith accused of lacking religious zeal, stripped of his abbot's rank and incarcerated in the Valaam Monastery. There he translated a number of ancient and medieval Chinese manuscripts, which were then unknown in Europe. In succeeding decades he published many volumes on Chinese and Mongolian history, geography, religion, statistics, and agriculture. In 1837 he opened the first Chinese-language school in the Russian Empire. For his Sinological contributions, he was elected to the Russian, German, and French Academies of Sciences.
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