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Rev Fr Matteo Ricci

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Rev Fr Matteo Ricci

  • Birth 6 Oct 1552 Marche, Italy
  • Death 11 May 1610 Beijing, Beijing Municipality, China
  • Burial Beijing, Beijing Municipality, China
  • Memorial ID 32764715

Jesuit Missionary to China. Known to the Chinese as Li Madou (—˜àóâ…), Ricci was born in the city of Macerata in the Papal States. Ricci undertook theological and legal studies at a Jesuit institution in Rome. In 1578 he arrived in Goa, India, to begin serving as a Jesuit missionary. In 1582 he was sent to China, arriving in the Portuguese colony of Macao. There he began studying Chinese. In 1583, he moved to Zhaoqing, in Guangdong, at the invitation of the governor Wang Pan, and while there created a world map in Chinese based on the latest available Western knowledge. During his stay, he is believed to have compiled the first-ever Portuguese-Chinese dictionary, inventing a romanization for Chinese. He was banished from Zhaoqing in 1589 at the behest of a newly arrived government official. Ricci first arrived in Beijing in 1598, but it was not until 1601, during a subsequent visit to Beijing, that he was finally granted admission into the Forbidden City after sending the Ming emperor Wanli a chiming clock. He was thus the first European ever granted entry into the Forbidden City. Ricci was welcomed after that, his missions and projects were financed, and he associated with many high government officials and literati, but he never met the Emperor himself. Ricci remained in China for the rest of his life, and after his death the Emperor granted him the rare privilege of burial in Beijing. Ricci's achievements were numerous, including carrying out the first translations of the Confucian classics into a European language - Latin. The Latinized name Confucius (from Chinese "Kongfuzi") was coined by him.

Bio by: Chris Nelson





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Chris Nelson
  • Added: 8 Jan 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32764715
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Fr Matteo Ricci (6 Oct 1552–11 May 1610), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32764715, citing Zhalan Cemetery, Beijing, Beijing Municipality, China ; Maintained by Find A Grave .