Mappa mundi

Matteo Ricci
Beijing 1602
Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

Click for full-size imageMatteo Ricci was among the first generation of missionaries in China. He assimilated into Chinese society, presented himself as a learned peer to scholar-officials, became literate in Classical Chinese, and learned to speak Mandarin.
The cartographer Li Zhizao 李之藻 commissioned Ricci to produce a mappa mundi in 1602. It is recognized as the first map of the world known in China. While Ricci had authored versions earlier than the one shown here, this is the oldest surviving specimen.

(NOTE: Mateo Ricci's map is extremely large. Please click the image at left for a larger view of both halves of the map, or click the following links for full-size views of the map's left side and right side.)

Related objects: