James Ford Bell Trust Unveils World’s First Map to Combine Eastern and Western Cartography at the Library of Congress

January 13, 2010

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ — Today at the Library of Congress the James Ford Bell Trust unveiled 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 incorporating Eastern and Western cartography.

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

The legendary map is the second most expensive printed rare map ever sold; the first was the Waldseemuller Map, which named America. The Ricci Map was recently sold to the Trust by London’s renowned rare book seller, Bernard J. Shapero. It measures 12 feet by 5 feet, is printed on rice paper and designed to be mounted on folding screens. The Ricci Map is one of seven known examples. There is no other example in the United States or China.

The map will be displayed at the Library of Congress alongside the Waldseemuller from January 12 to April 10, 2010. “The juxtaposition of the Ricci Map to the Waldseemuller signifies their importance in world history, culture and geography,” said Dr. Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services, Library of Congress.

Diane B. Neimann, Trustee, James Ford Bell Trust, who managed the acquisition, acknowledged the importance of making the map available at the largest library in the world. “The Library of Congress will scan the Ricci Map for the World Digital Library, thereby making an image available to scholars and students on a global basis once the exhibition has ended.”

The Ricci Map will also be displayed for a limited time at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts before moving to its intended home in the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota. “My Grandfather James Ford Bell, the founder of General Mills, established the Library to illustrate the historical background of the great economic force of trade and to make those exciting discoveries available to all,” said Bell.

SOURCE The James Ford Bell Trust

Source: newswire

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