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Ricci Mateo

(1552 -  1610 )
Mateo RICCI Kunyu Wanquo Quantu

Christie's
Jul 12, 2017
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Artworks in Arcadja
2

Some works of Ricci Mateo

Extracted between 2 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Ricci Mateo - Kunyu Wanquo Quantu

Ricci Mateo - Kunyu Wanquo Quantu

Original
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Lot number: 192
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
RICCI, Mateo (1552-1610). Kunyu Wanquo Quantu \\\‘A Map of the Myriad Countries of the World\\\’ or \\\‘Complete Geographical Map of all the Kingdoms of the World\\\’. Probably Beijing, c. first half 17th century. RICCI, Mateo (1552-1610). Kunyu Wanquo Quantu \\\‘A Map of the Myriad Countries of the World\\\’ or \\\‘Complete Geographical Map of all the Kingdoms of the World\\\’. Probably Beijing, c. first half 17th century. Two exceptionally rare manuscript maps, perhaps made for the Chinese imperial court, showing the fusion of western and eastern cartography, iconography and mythology. Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) was an Italian Jesuit priest and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China missions. In 1582 he established the first permanent Jesuit mission in China in Macao, later travelling to Shaoking in Kwantung province the following year. He finally reached Beijing in 1598. Ricci made 8 world maps while in China, of differing formats, between 1584 and 1609. Using the latest western cartography from the likes of Ortelius and Mercator, he created a Sino-centric world map to impress the Chinese with the Jesuits\\\’ scientific knowledge. Probably the most well-known is his 6-panel map printed in Beijing in 1602, of which there are only 8 known complete copies extant. Manuscript copies of this 1602 map were made from the earliest times, as the production of the printed map was hampered by destruction of the Jesuit house in Beijing in a flood. In light of these difficulties, Ricci started work on a new 8 panel map in 1603, but the Chinese emperor was most impressed by the 6 panel map, and this set in motion a demand for the 6 panel format. Both panels in the present lot carry the characteristic Jesuit seals, the IHS of the Society of Jesus, which are consistent with those on the original printed map. However, the present lot has figures of ships, sea creatures and monsters not present on the original printed map, but these are consistent with other Chinese manuscript copies made during the 17th century. John Day has persuasively argued that these figures derive from western works in the Jesuit library in Beijing, including Abraham Ortelius\\\’ Theatrum orbis terrarum, 1570, of which a copy was known to exist in the Jesuit house. A remarkable discovery and survival; these panels are only the sixth known extant manuscript copies of Ricci\\\’s map. The others are: 1. Beijing National Library, panel 4 only; 2. formerly in the Kendall Whaling Museum, now in the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Massachusetts, panel 3 only; 3. Nanjing Museum, 6 panels, dated 1672 by John Day; 4. Kitamura Collection, Osaka. 10 panels, with additional text panels, dated 1708; 5. Seoul, National University Museum, 8 panels, with additional text panels, dated 1768. There is a further manuscript map figured thus, but now lost, known as the Nicolas map, which Day dates to c.1730. Therefore the present lot is only the second known example in the western hemisphere. A visual comparison with the Nanjing copy (a physical inspection was not possible) shows that the present panels share very many characteristics with that 17th-century map, but it is apparent that there are variations with the placement of text panels. Day suggests there is a missing manuscript map produced around 1644 from which all extant maps, excepting the Kitamura and Seoul copies, derive. It is distinctly possible that the present lot could be from that missing map. Literature: John D. Day. \\\‘The Search for the Origins of the Chinese Manuscript of Matteo Ricci's Maps\\\’ in Imago Mundi, Vol. 47 (1995), pp. 94-117. Panel one (extreme right-hand panel): title to extreme top right-hand corner, the figure of the Nove Cieli (Nine Skies) to the left of title, illustrated as per 16th-century conceptions, with accompanying explanatory text detailing the movement of the planets, with further text panels describing general geographical and oceanographic knowledge; the cartography showing portions of Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, the Azores, South America, including the rivers Amazon and Plate, and part of an Antarctic continent, 1345 x 625mm, pen and ink and watercolour manuscript map on paper, lines of longitude in pen, the Arctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn delineated in straight lines in red, the Equator in a straight line with red and yellow colouring consistent with the hemisphere edge, three large sea monsters, one of which appears to be a hammerhead shark, mountain chains within continents, toponyms in Chinese (trimmed short at bottom by approx. 335mm, lacking astronomical diagram and approx. 20 lines of Chinese text). Panel six (extreme left-hand panel): two small diagrams at top demonstrating eclipses with textual explanation, as well as the method for measuring the Earth and the Moon and a proof that the sun is larger than the moon; the cartography showing portions of Greenland, Iceland, western Europe, including Ireland, the Low Countries, France, Spain and Portugal, northern and western Africa, with the River Gambia depicted, extending down the west coast of the continent to South Africa, with a part of an Antarctic continent, 1440 x 618mm, two polar projections in top left-hand and bottom right-hand corners, pen and ink and watercolour manuscript map on paper, lines of longitude in pen, the Arctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn delineated in straight lines in red and extending beyond the hemisphere edge, the Equator in a straight line with red and yellow colouring consistent with the hemisphere edge, North and South Atlantic Oceans with 2 large sea monsters, one of which appears to be a whale blowing, and 3 ships, one of which is an oared galley, mountain chains within continents, toponyms in Chinese (trimmed just a fraction into top line of text and diagrams, and cut short at bottom by approx. 240mm, into Antarctic polar projection and Antarctic continent). Both panels recently conserved and mounted on modern silk; a full conservation report is available upon request.
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