Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fr. Matteo Ricci's, "The Impossible Black Tulip" Map Fetches $1,000,000.00

A rarely viewed world map compiled in 1602 by Jesuit missionary to China, Matteo Ricci, has gone on display at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

The 400-year-old map identifies Florida as "the Land of Flowers" and put China at the center of the world, according to ABC News.

The map created by Matteo Ricci is claimed to be the first in Chinese to show the Americas. Ricci, a Jesuit missionary from Italy, was the first Westerner to visit what is now Beijing in the late 1500s. Known for introducing Western science to China, Ricci created the map in 1602 at the request of Emperor Wanli.

The 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 description of North America is brief with mentions of "humped oxen" or bison, wild horses and a region named "Ka-na-ta."

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. But a hundred years ago, Europeans came sailing in their ships to parts of the sea coast, and so discovered them."

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.

Link (here)

1 comment:

Gunter Weltschmerz said...

It's one of the marvels of the time we live in that this can be accessible now and for future generations in its physicality and digitally through scanning and the internet. timely too- China at the center of the world and all...