Matteo Ricci (October 6, 1552 – May 11, 1610; simplified Chinese: 利玛窦; traditional Chinese: 利瑪竇; pinyin: Lì Mǎdòu; courtesy name: 西泰 Xītài)
Some Interesting Facts About Him:
Born in Macerata, central Italy. Definitely NOT a Chinese.
He arrived in China on August 1582.
His, The Firsts:
- Before him no foreigner would seriously learn the Chinese language. (that eventually made him the first Western scholar to master Chinese script and Classical Chinese.)
- He is a skilled mathematician and crtographer
- First to introduce mechanical clocks to Chinese
- He was the first to compose a map of the world in Chinese, now called the “Impossible Black Tulip”, which made Chinese realize how big china was, when compared to the rest of the world.
- Co-compiled (along with Michele Ruggieri) the Portuguese-Chinese dictionary – the first ever European-Chinese dictionary, for which they developed a consistent system for transcribing Chinese words in the Latin alphabet.
- In 1601 Ricci was invited by the Emperor to become an advisor to the Imperial court of Wanli Emperor, thus becoming the first Westerner to be invited into the Forbidden City
- Ricci was the first Westerner to learn about the Kaifeng Jews.
- Ricci was the first to translate the Confucian classics into a western language, Latin, with assistance from the scholar Xu Guangqi.
- He died in Beijing on May 11, 1610 at the age of 58. He was the first foreigner to be buried inside the capital city ( Forbidden City ) of China. (Then foreigners who died in China had to be buried in Macau). Emperor Wanli granted permission to bury him inside China and designated a Buddhist temple for the purpose.
- Matteo Ricci along with Marco Polo were the only foreigners to be depicted in the millennium building in Beijing
Now the great question, Why did he do all these?
He is NOT a conqueror (at least not in the political sense ), he did not do it for wealth, money, fame, position, glory or anything similar for that matter.
How many firsts in life.. WOW.. He lived a fantastically fabulous life… I want to live my life just like this. Oh god help me.
And for the final touch and the answer to the question I asked before, He did it for Christ. Yeap, Christ. ( Same as Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Its is sad that most people don’t even know this ) He was an italian Catholic Jesuit priest and founding figures of the Jesuit China Mission. In April 1984, he was declared as a “Servant of God”. The cause of beatification of Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), was reopened on January 24 at the cathedral of the east-central Italian Diocese of Macerata-Tolentino-Recanati-Cingoli-Treia.
Now you can watch this video, did show you before because I didn’t want to ruin the suspense.. 😀