A World Map Under Eastern Eyes

A rare and enlightening Chinese map of the world journeys to the U.S.

James Ford Bell Trust

Ricci's 1602 map (12.5 x 5.5 ft.) shows the world as a sphere, with China at its center.

What does china really think of the U.S.? Spend some time in the Middle Kingdom, and you'll hear both protestations of admiration and plenty of disparaging comments about the West. Such attitudes have a long history. In 1602 the imperial Chinese court learned that the inhabitants of North America were "kindly and hospitable to strangers." On the other hand, they "kill one another all the year round, and spend their time in fighting and robbery. They feed exclusively on snakes, ants, spiders and other creeping things."

Those lines are written on a map of the world on display at the Library...

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