The depiction of the world is based upon European models, but the mode of production (woodblock print), original format (screen or scrolls) and heavy annotation are hallmarks of Chinese tradition. Unlike European maps, which place the Atlantic Ocean at the center, Ricci has put the Americas on the right and Eurasia and Africa on the left, placing China and the Pacific Ocean at the center.
A Chinese tradition of densely annotating maps is evident in the text that covers the map, in some places supplying place names, and in others a remarkable depth of information about the geography of the world and the customs of people and animals in it. The map also contains imaginative descriptions of peoples at the peripheries of the world as known to China and Europe in the 17th century.
interactive Ricci Map and view translations of the Chinese text, synopses, and more.