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Matteo Ricci’s world map reveals - Chinese surveyed America before Columbus   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2011-12-14 15:51:50 |Display all floors
Matteo Ricci’s world map reveals - Chinese surveyed America before Columbus

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Post time 2011-12-14 15:53:00 |Display all floors
Matteo Ricci’s world map reveals - Chinese surveyed America before Columbus

Matteo Ricci’s 1602 world map offers the definitive proof that Chinese not only visited and surveyed America, they circumnavigated the world 60 years before Christopher Columbus, pointed out by Dr. Siu-Leung Lee at the First International Zheng He Conference in Melaka, Malaysia.

After examining more than 300 maps published from 14th century to 19th century, Dr. Lee presents the solid evidence including in Ricci’s own words, that Ricci’s 1602 world map is in fact mostly based on Chinese information and maps drawn 160 years before Ricci’s time and 70 years before Columbus’s first voyage to America.

Matteo Ricci’s 1602 map is all written in Chinese. In Ricci’s own words on the map, he has consulted Chinese sources to add hundreds of names and corrected the geography. Almost 50% of the 1114 names, including those on the American continents, do not have equivalents in European maps of its time. The most important dating clue is a note on the map above Spain clearly stating that the map was drawn “70 some years” after the first official contact of China and Europe. This refers to Pope Benedict XII sending a legation of 50 to Beijing (1342-47). Seventy some years later would date the map to 1410s-1420s when Zheng He was active in his voyages, which is 160 years before Ricci and 70 years before Columbus.

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continues......

The absence of Papal State and important names in Renaissance on Ricci’s map is inconsistent with Ricci’s status as a Jesuit commissioned to evangelize China. An Italian map without the Papal State and Florence in the 16th century is equivalent to an American map today without Washington DC and New York City. If the Europe on Ricci’s map is not drawn by European cartographers, the rest of the map would be even less likely. Major cities founded in the Great Discovery Age such as Santa Cruz, Acapulco, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires are notably absent.

Ricci’s map is consistent with the naming of major oceans with cardinal directions using China as the center of reference, while European maps were inconsistent and confused even 200 years later. This mistake is seen on a globe commissioned by the Pope and a map by Ricci’s successor Giulio Aleni. This shows the Chinese knew about the relative size of the three largest oceans.

The shape of Cape of Good Hope, South America, Hudson Bay and the California peninsula are far more accurate on Ricci’s map than the contemporaneous European world maps. The west of Mississippi explored by Lewis and Clark 200 years later is shown with many names. Names and features that should be on the map are not there, while those shouldn’t are found. That is why Ricci’s 1602 map has been characterized as “impossible”.

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Post time 2011-12-14 15:55:26 |Display all floors
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The 1602 map was completed one year after Ricci was allowed to roam in the Forbidden City where he likely had access to a copy of Zheng He’s map in the imperial archive.

For Ming Chinese to know the comparative size of the three largest oceans (Pacific, Atlantic and Indian) and draw the map, they must have circumnavigated and returned safely. It is thus beyond reasonable doubt that Ricci actually uncovered and redrew a Chinese world map of Zheng He’s era (1405-1433), proving that Chinese were the first to start the Great Discovery Age.

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Post time 2011-12-14 17:18:16 |Display all floors
Very interesting.

When the young Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) left Italy for missionary work in Asia, he traveled an unimaginable distance and faced extraordinary peril. Shipwreck, pirates, and disease were constant threats at sea, and letters from China could take three or four years to reach Rome. Ricci spent nearly thirty years in China, establishing Christian missions on the mainland. Often viewed with suspicion, he and his fellow Jesuits were arrested a number of times and banished from various towns. Yet in 1601, Ricci secured an invitation to enter the Forbidden City and became one of the first Westerners ever admitted.

Ricci’s religious devotion was matched by his intellectual curiosity. A scholar with interests in science, mathematics, and geography, he gained favor with China’s powerful governing class of scholar-officials, or literati. He mastered the Chinese language, studied Confucianism, and adopted the dress of a Chinese intellectual. Ricci introduced his new colleagues to the recent advances of Western science—from precision timepieces to terrestrial globes. In his own words, he “amazed the entire philosophical world of China.”

The world map Ricci created in Beijing in 1602 is exceptional on many counts. In addition to its large size and Chinese-centered perspective, it is the oldest surviving Chinese map to show the Americas. Although Ricci located China at the center, the map revealed the vastness of the globe, giving the inward-facing culture of the late Ming dynasty a wholly new conception of China’s place in the world. According to Ricci’s published diary (also exhibited in this gallery), when the Chinese saw “what an almost unlimited stretch of land and sea lay between Europe and China, that realization seemed to diminish the fear our presence had occasioned.”

To create this map, Ricci resourcefully drew from both Western and Eastern cartographic traditions. He relied on 16th-century Dutch atlases, including the Ortelius map exhibited here, and also consulted Chinese scholars and made use of Chinese maps and land surveys. Thus he was able to add such wonderful details as an accurate charting of the Great Wall. The map’s large scale, Ricci explained, let the viewer “travel about, as it were, while reclining at ease in his own study.” Although the map was printed in great quantities, today only six complete examples are known. After its showing at the MIA, this rare monument of cartography will be permanently on view at the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota.

[For further translations of Ricci’s map, consult Lionel Giles’s partial translation in English (L. Giles, Geographic Journal, vol. 52, Dec. 1918: 367-385, and vol. 53, Jan. 1919: 19-30) and Kenneth Ch’en’s slightly more extensive translation, also in English (K. Ch’en Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 59, Sept. 1939: 325-359). The entire text of the map was translated into Italian by Pasquale d’Elia (see Il mappamondo cinese del p. Matteo Ricci, Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca apostolica Vaticana, 1938).]

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Post time 2011-12-15 15:38:23 |Display all floors
This post was edited by correction at 2011-12-15 15:48

"To create this map, Ricci resourcefully drew from both Western and Eastern cartographic traditions. He relied on 16th-century Dutch atlases, including the Ortelius map exhibited here" ???

Antarctica, Australia, N.Z, Alaska were still not explored by European seafarers in 1602, meaning that no European explorers had been to these lands yet, let alone map out the entire continents, so clearly the information were gathered from the Chinese sources only. That proves beyond doubt that Zheng He's fleets had truly circumnavigated the whole world & provided information to produce the world map that the Europeans had copied from the Chinese sources!!!
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Post time 2011-12-15 15:56:41 |Display all floors
This post was edited by correction at 2011-12-15 15:59

Antarctica was first sighted by European (Russian) explorers in 1820, and the first landing was probably just over a year later when American Captain John Davis to set foot on the ice.
So clearly the information gathered on Antarctica by Matteo Ricci in 1584 must have come from the Chinese sources ONLY.
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