Kangxi and Louis XIV: Famous Parallel Figures

Shen Yun Performing Arts , Contributing Writer

One of China's most illustrious emperors, Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) of the Qing Dynasty, takes the cake for the longest-ruling emperor in Chinese history—reigning for 61 years.

His French counterpart, King Louis XIV (1638-1715) reigned for a whopping 72 years—the longest ruling monarch in European history.

Both began their rule as children. Louis XIV ascended the throne at 4, and Kangxi at 7. Later on in life they would each take the helm of the world’s greatest powers.

The seventeenth century saw much engagement between China and France. Louis XIV developed a keen interest in Chinese culture, in particular fine Chinese pottery. Kangxi, an enthusiastic learner, was eager to study Western medicine, astronomy, and many other subjects, and adored French glass.

Today, if you visit the Palace of Versailles, you will find Louis XIV’s collection of Chinese silks, lacquers, and vases gifted to him by Kangxi.

Simultaneously, some 50 French Jesuits were sent to China during Kangxi’s reign, and they noted striking similarities between Kangxi and Louis XIV. This is where we start seeing the saying that Emperor Kangxi and King Louis were protected by the same angel.

Both monarchs were multilingual. Louis spoke French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin; Kangxi spoke Manchu, Mandarin, and Mongolian. Both led many successful military campaigns, both had a love for learning, and promoted the arts and sciences.

Despite the numerous similarities, we must note that while the humble Kangxi led a most modest life, eating healthy but not to excess, deriving satisfaction from some nuts as a late night snack, Louis was a fan of lavish banquets and of showing off his stocking-clad legs in heels.

And while King Louis XIV had 17 children, Kangxi outdid him with 56!

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尹金星 October 12, 2023

Loved the story’s, such a beautiful facts

Lilian Castro August 01, 2023

Very interesting.

Carolyn Wahl-Uhing July 30, 2023

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