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April 5, 2010

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Museum hails Jesuit pioneer

AN exhibition to commemorate the fourth centenary of the death of missionary Matteo Ricci has opened at Shanghai Museum.

He introduced China to scientific and technological knowledge including astronomy, mathematics, geography and European philosophy, and compiled dictionaries of the language in the early 1600s.

"Matteo Ricci: An Encounter of Civilization in Ming China," will run until May 23 after a previous tour in Beijing.

Among the 113 antique pieces on show, some are on loan from the museum and libraries in Italy and China.

Matteo Ricci, or Li Madou as he is known in China, is with Marco Polo the best known foreigner in China.

"Matteo Ricci is for culture and spirituality what Marco Polo represents for adventures and enterprise," said Filippo Mignini, curator for this exhibition.

"It was thanks to his inquisitiveness and desire to learn and understand that the doors of the Forbidden City were opened to him."

"He devoted his entire life to the Jesuit mission in China," said Chen Xiejun, director of Shanghai Museum.

"This exhibition follows his footsteps and retraces his travels around China which allows Chinese visitors to remember this pioneer, whose contribution to the cultural exchanges between East and West was extraordinary."


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