Tuesday, January 12, 2010

400 for Matteo Ricci, SJ

A rarely seen 400-year-old map that identified Florida as "the Land of Flowers" and put China at the center of the world went on display Tuesday at the Library of Congress. A detail of Matteo Ricci's 1602 map nicknamed the "Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography" showing Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, is seen on display at the Library of Congress in Washington, on Monday Jan. 11, 2010. The map is the first map in Chinese to show the Americas. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

On This Rare Map, China Is the Center of the World - ABC News

(AP)The map created by Matteo Ricci was the first in Chinese to show the Americas. Ricci, a Jesuit missionary from Italy, was among the first Westerners to live in what is now Beijing in the early 1600s. Known for introducing Western science to China, Ricci created the map in 1602 at the request of Emperor Wanli.

Ricci's map includes pictures and annotations describing different regions of the world. Africa was noted to have the world's highest mountain and longest river. The brief description of North America mentions "humped oxen" or bison, wild horses and a region named "Ka-na-ta."

Several Central and South American places are named, including "Wa-ti-ma-la" (Guatemala), "Yu-ho-t'ang" (Yucatan) and "Chih-Li" (Chile).

Ricci gave a brief description of the discovery of the Americas.

"In olden days, nobody had ever known that there were such places as North and South America or Magellanica," he wrote, using a label that early mapmakers gave to Australia and Antarctica. "But a hundred years ago, Europeans came sailing in their ships to parts of the sea coast, and so discovered them."

The Ricci map gained the nickname the "Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography" because it was so hard to find.

This map — one of only two in good condition — was purchased by the James Ford Bell Trust in October for $1 million, making it the second most expensive rare map ever sold. The library bought another of the world's rarest maps, the Waldseemuller world map, which was the first to name "America," for $10 million in 2003. (click title for entire article)

Shanghai Catholics should walk on the footsteps of Matteo Ricci - Asia News

by Zhen Yuan

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Jesuit missionary’s death, Catholics should be inspired by his way of life: faith in God; love for Chinese culture; respect for teachers and friends. Education cannot just be a market-oriented business; faithful should work and study hard, instead of spending time on TV or computer. “Arrogance and prejudice” of Church leaders and Chinese authorities have slowed evangelization in China.

Shanghai (AsiaNews) – Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai has called for his faithful to learn from Matteo Ricci’s qualities as a way to commemorate the Jesuit missionary in China, according to the prelate’s Christmas message released Dec. 24.

Bishop Jin’s letter titled “Song of Li Madou” (Song of Matteo Ricci) not only highlights Jesuit Father Ricci (1522-1610)’s contribution to the Chinese Church and society, but includes Bishop Jin’s views on Ricci in relating to Chinese-Western exchanges, and qualities of Ricci whom his faithful can model, followed by a list of books written by Ricci.

Shanghai diocese, as many places in the Universal Church, would celebrate solemnly the 400th anniversary of Ricci’s death on May 11, 2010, the 93-year-old prelate said, stating his letter aims to let Chinese Catholics to know and learn from Ricci’s life.

Calling Father Ricci, Xu Guangqi and all missioners in heaven to pray for Chinese Catholics, the letter describes Ricci’s life and before and after he served in China, citing his early missions in Zhaoqing, Shaozhou, Nanchang and along the way to Beijing. The pastoral letter also discussed his work, friendships with Chinese, including Xu Guangqi, his death and the issue on the Controversy of Rites (1).

He highlighted Ricci had kept his prayer life despite heavy work each day, and his collaboration in translation and friendship with Xu Guangqi, a baptized Catholic from Shanghai, and other scholars.

Bishop Jin listed some of Ricci’s qualities whom he thinks local Catholics can model - Ricci’s faith in God, love for Chinese culture, respect for teachers and friends, a virtue also fostered in Confucian thought, grasping opportunities wisely, and enriching oneself by studying industriously. (click title for entire article)

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