Selected Texts from Matteo Ricci's 1602 Map

Curator's note:
The monumental size of this map gave Ricci ample space for extensive commentary. His descriptive legend covers such subjects as cosmography, astronomy, latitude and longitude, and evidence of the earth's spherical shape and includes colorful accounts of the world's diverse lands and cultures. He drew from the late 16th-century European atlases he brought with him to China–namely the works of Abraham Ortelius, Gerard Mercator, and Petrus Plancius–and also from Chinese sources. Many of Ricci's Chinese translations of new place names are still used in China today, for example, Ya-ma-chia (Jamaica) and Ku-pa (Cuba). The text is a lively blend of fact and fantasy. Here are some excerpts.

The Ricci Map is owned by the James Ford Bell Trust, and has been loaned to the MIA.