Rome (AsiaNews) The Istituto Matteo Ricci, in cooperation with the Special Agency for Roman Museums (Soprintendenza Speciale per il Polo Museale Romano), is presenting the exhibit Matteo Ricci: Europe at the Ming Court" at Rome's Vittoriano Museum Complex. Opening is scheduled for tomorrow February 10 at 6 pm at the Vittoriano's Ara Coeli entrance.
The exhibit was previously held in Matteo Ricci's hometown of Macerata (central Italy) in the summer of 2003, and, after Rome, will travel to Berlin (June 6 till August 27 2005) and eventually Beijing in 2006 as part of the Year of Italy in China.
The show recreates the first significant and lasting encounter between Western and Chinese civilisations as expressed in Matteo Ricci's work. Born in Macerata in 1552, the Jesuit Ricci died in Beijing in 1610 where he was known as Li Madou (his Chinese name) and Xitai (his title of Master of the Great West).
He played a crucial role in breaking down the wall of mistrust that for centuries separated the Chinese from outsiders and in introducing elements of Western civilisation into Chinese culture.
It took him a long time to do so. His journey from Macau to Beijing spans 18 years during which he set up four homes for his brethren and small communities of Christians.
He spent ten years living at the Ming court where he reached the rank of Mandarin, a top imperial bureaucrat, paid by the public purse.
After his death, the emperor honoured Ricci with his own burial place, the first time this had ever happened, a place desecrated during the Cultural Revolution but which was recently rehabilitated and opened to the public.