Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.
Click the far right button for full screen viewer

Map Viewer Instructions

About The Ricci Map

Kunyu wanguo quantu 坤輿萬國全圖 (Complete Geographical Map of Ten Thousand Countries), is the oldest surviving map in Chinese to show the Americas. It is a xylograph (wood block print) on six panels of fine native paper (made with bamboo fiber), each panel measuring approximately 608.33 mm x 1820 mm (2 feet by 5.75 feet). Li Zhizao (1565-1630), a Chinese mathematician, astronomer and geographer, who worked on the project with Ricci, may have engraved the map. It was printed by Zhang Wentao of Hangzhou, possibly an official printer of the Ming court.

A Jesuit priest, Matteo Ricci (1553-1610) arrived in China in 1583 and, with fellow Jesuit Michele Ruggieri, established the first Christian mission. In 1597, Ricci was named Superior or head of the entire Jesuit missionary effort in China. His world map is a true collaboration between the European scholars of the Jesuit mission and the Chinese scholars and artisans of the imperial court. Vivid descriptions of the continents, praise of the Chinese emperor, lunar charts, and scientific tables documenting the movement of the planets adorn the map, a unique representation of East-West relations in the early 17th-century.

This Example of the 1602 Ricci Map

This example of the 1602 Ricci Map is among six known complete examples of the 1602 printing; this is the only one in the Americas. The six examples: Vatican Apostolic Library Collection I; Japan Kyoto University Collection; collection of Japan Miyagi Prefecture Library; Collection of the Library of the Japanese Cabinet; Paris, France (in private hands); James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota.

Learn More About Matteo Ricci and the Map

About this Zoom-Enabled Map Image

The above image of the Matteo Ricci Map of 1602 was compiled from images of the map's six panels scanned at the Library of Congress. The map panels were scanned at 300 ppi (pixels per inch) and saved in TIFF format. This image was adjusted in Adobe Photoshop and exported to a format used by Zoomify for FlashTM viewers.

Zoomify Map Viewer Instructions

Use the controls on the viewer's toolbar below the map to zoom in and out and to pan around the map. Use the minus (-) button (first button on the left) to zoom out, use the sliding scale bar to adjust the zoom level, and use the plus (+) button to zoom in. Use the next four buttons to pan left, up, down, and right respectively. You can also pan by clicking the left mouse button (and holding it down) to move around the map. The inset map displays the portion of map visible in the viewer. The blue box in the inset map can also be moved to change to area of the map being displayed in the viewer. The next to last button resets the view to the original view of the entire map.

Enabling the Full-Screen Viewer

This Viewer allows for full screen viewing of the Ricci Map. Simply click on the farthest right button (after the separator line) on the viewer's toolbar below the map. You will now be able to view the map on your monitor's full screen. To exit from full-screen viewing, simply press the "Esc" key.


Portrait of Matteo Ricci, 1610: Portrait of Matteo Ricci by Emmanuel Pereira (born Yu Wen-Hui). Jesuit House, Rome.Portrait of Matteo Ricci, 1610 by Emmanuel Pereira. Jesuit House, Rome.

Born Yu Wen-Hui, Pereira converted to Christianity and then served the Jesuit mission in China as a lay brother. He was trained as an artist by Jesuit Giovanni Nicolao.

The Ricci Map Around the World

Ricci Map at the Library of Congress (video, Chinese with some English)

Matteo Ricci, His Map and Music

The 1602 Ricci Map is a gift of the James Ford Bell Trust in honor of former Trustee, the late Diane Neimann.