I first heard of Hallerstein in 2003, the year that marked the 300th anniversary of his birth. His life story serves as a source of my inspiration as I strive to express this forgotten history through art, which is the original intention of the Hallerstein project. I hope to inspire more people to explore his vital role in fostering cultural communication and cooperation between the East and West and to appreciate his historical and scientific importance. Hallerstein, also known as Liu Songling, was a Slovenian Jesuit and astronomer of the Qing dynasty in China, born in 1703 in Ljubljana. He embarked on a journey to China, and from 1739 served as the Head of the Imperial Astronomical Bureau and Board of Mathematics in Beijing under Emperor Qianlog until his passing in 1774.
His work contributed significantly to the transmission of knowledge about China, its wisdom, social concepts, and culture to the West.
Due to historical reasons, he later faded into oblivion. The significance of his contribution is resurfacing from the historical archives, despite the absence of any preserved image of his appearance.
Hallerstein: The Foreign Astronomer in the Forbidden City, published in 2014, is my first picture book. In 2014, it received the Kristina Brenkova Award, and in 2015, I was awarded the Golden Pear Award.