Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Impossible Black Tulip

Very exciting news-- the lobster will simply quote from the press release-- for more information, click here:

"Today at the Library of Congress the James Ford Bell Trust unveiled for the first time in North America, Matteo Ricci’s 1602 “Impossible Black Tulip,” a massive map showing the world with China at its center. It is the first map in Chinese to show the Americas, and the first printed map to incorporate both Eastern and Western cartography.

'Matteo Ricci’s Map is one of the most significant cartographical documents ever produced,' said Dr. Ford W. Bell, Trustee of the James Ford Bell Trust and President of the American Association of Museums. 'The map brings together the best of western science, mathematics and geography to show China, the western hemisphere and the five continents in their relative positions'.

The map was created at the request of Emperor Wanli and was designed to incorporate as much Jesuit knowledge as possible, in combination with some of the great works of Chinese scholars, demonstrated both graphically and in Chinese characters surrounding the map. The legendary map is the second most expensive printed rare map ever sold; the first was the Waldseemuller world map, the first to name America.

'The map represents the momentous first meeting of East and West as drawn by Jesuit Matteo Ricci, the first Westerner to enter Peking,' said Ti Bin Zhang, First Secretary for Cultural Affairs Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. 'This historic map was the catalyst for commerce and the subsequent relationship between the East and West.'

The Ricci Map is one of only seven known examples and there is no other known example in either the United States or China. The map will be on display at the Library of Congress alongside the Waldseemuller from January 12 to April 10, 2010."

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