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Passage to India: Jesuit Spiritual Economy between Martyrdom and Profit in the Seventeenth Century 1

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Abstract Historians today seem to agree that passions for spices and for acquisition of objects and territories from the late fifteenth century fuelled the “mercantile revolution” on a global scale. This article will argue that spirituality and commercial enterprise worked together to produce material objects, some of exceptional artistry. These artifacts, books, sculptures, paintings, and the attractive narratives written about or around them sparked spiritual enthusiasm wherever they reached their audience and became fundraising tools for further spiritual conquest and for creation of new material objects. In this case, I will trace the career of one particular Jesuit missionary, Marcello Mastrilli, who invented his own life and future martyrdom with a series of printed books and works of art, all marked by Mastrilli’s spiritual energy and his ability to fill the Jesuit purse.

Affiliations: 1: Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, CNRS Paris

10.1163/157006512X633245
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2012-01-01
2017-05-25

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