China at the Center focuses on two masterpieces of seventeenth-century map-making that illustrate the exchange of information (and misinformation) between Europe and Asia. The world maps created by Jesuit priests Matteo Ricci (1602) and Ferdinand Verbiest (1674) for the Chinese courts tell fascinating stories about the meeting of two worldviews.
They provided Europeans with greater knowledge of China and the Chinese with new ideas about geography, astronomy, and the natural sciences. The maps also show the ways that certain myths were perpetuated, especially as seen in the vivid and imaginative descriptions of the peoples and places of the world and in their depictions of exotic fauna.
About the Author: Natasha Reichle is the Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Her previous publications include Violence and Serenity: Late Buddhist Sculpture from Indonesia (2007) and Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance (2010).
M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J., D.Phil. (Oxon), is the Director of the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History and Associate Professor of East Asian studies at the University of San Francisco.
Theodore N. Foss recently retired as the Associate Director of the Center for East Asian Studies at The University of Chicago. Prior to this, he was Assistant Director of the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University
Mark Stephen Mir has been a member of the USF Ricci Institute for more than 25 years, where he is responsible for the library, archives, and digital collections and provides support for students, faculty and visiting scholars.
The Asian Art Museum—Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is a public institution whose mission is to lead a diverse global audience in discovering the unique material, aesthetic, and intellectual achievements of Asian art and culture.