The Missionary Works-Matteo Ricci

Shaped by the Chinese

Who was this guy?

Matteo Ricci, born in 1552, was a Jesuit and a missionary to China. By adopting the language and culture of the country, he gained entrance to the interior of China, which was normally closed to foreigners.

Why?

He was sent to China because of it's population, which would greatly increase the number of converts if he and other missionaries succeeded. Because of his great memory and knowledge of Confucian classics (of which he studied), he became a welcomed guest at the philosophical discussion groups that were organized by the elite. In China he used European science and technology in order to attract the attention of the educated Chinese and convince them of the high level of European civilization.

Highlights

  • Created the “Map of 10,000 Countries of the Earth” in 1602 with Chinese characters
  • Commonly seen with a tall hat