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Museum marks pioneer's anniversary

ANTIQUES were unveiled today at Shanghai Museum to celebrate 400 years of the death of Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci, the first foreigner to visit the Imperial Palace in 1601.

"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 introduced China to scientific and technological knowledge including astronomy, mathematics, geography and European philosophy, and compiled dictionaries of the language.

According to Chen Xiejun, the director at the Shanghai Museum, the exhibition is divided into 12 sections.

"He devoted his entire life to the Jesuit mission in China. 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," said Chen.


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