A Map of the Whole World (Verbiest)

Contributed by The Hunterian

A Map of the Whole World (Verbiest)

The map showing the two hemispheres of the world in the Hunterian collection was designed for the Second Qing Emperor of China, Kangxi (1662-1722) by the Jesuit Father Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-88), in 1674.

Verbiest was one of a handful of Jesuits who were employed at the Chinese court during the 17th-18th century and who introduced ideas of Western science to China. Matteo Ricci was the first Jesuit to arrive in China in 1583. His goal was to spread Christianity and to do this he sought to impress the local Chinese officials in Guangdong in south China with his learning and scientific knowledge As part of this process Ricci produced the first Map in 1584 - single hemisphere. The Map was printed in several editions, the last of 1608 having detailed information on peoples and continents translated into Chinese much like Verbiest's Map.

The Map was made by carving the design into a set of woodblocks which fitted together like a jigsaw to create the two hemispheres For every copy of the Map, the blocks were inked and paper placed on top to create a printed image. Originally, the Map was mounted as a series of 8 individual vertical scrolls that were then hung together.

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