Main content

Matteo Ricci and the Ming Dynasty

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Matteo Ricci's 16th-century mission to Ming Dynasty China, an important early encounter between east and west.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life of Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit priest who in the 16th century led a Christian mission to China. An accomplished scholar, Ricci travelled extensively and came into contact with senior officials of the Ming Dynasty administration. His story is one of the most important encounters between Renaissance Europe and a China which was still virtually closed to outsiders.


Mary Laven
Reader in Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge

Craig Clunas
Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford


Anne Gerritsen
Reader in History at the University of Warwick

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Thu 16 Apr 2015 21:30


Mary Laven at the University of Cambridge

Craig Clunas at the University of Oxford

Anne Gerritsen at the University of Warwick

The 1602 Ricci Map - University of Minnesota Libraries

De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu - Beyond Ricci

Matteo Ricci - Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity

The Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History - University of San Francisco

Matteo Ricci - Wikipedia



Liam Matthew Brockey, Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579-1724 (Harvard University Press, 2007)

C. R. Boxer (ed.), South China in the Sixteenth Century (first published 1953; Orchid Press, 2006)

Timothy Brook, Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World (Profile Books, 2008)

Timothy Brook, Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China (University of California Press, 1998)

Craig Clunas, Empire of Great Brightness: Visual and Material Cultures of Ming China 1368-1644 (Reaktion Books, 2007)

Amin Jaffer and Anna Jackson (eds), Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe, 1500-1800 (V&A Publications, 2004)

Mary Laven, Mission to China: Matteo Ricci and the Jesuit Encounter with the East (Faber & Faber, 2011)

John W. O’Malley, The First Jesuits (Harvard University Press, 1995)

R. Po-chia Hsia, A Jesuit in the Forbidden City: Matteo Ricci 1552-1610 (Oxford University Press, 2010)

Jonathan D. Spence, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci, (Faber & Faber, 1985)

John E. Wills Jr (ed.), China and Maritime Europe, 1500-1800: Trade, Settlement, Diplomacy, and Missions (Cambridge University Press, 2010)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Mary Laven
Interviewed Guest Craig Clunas
Interviewed Guest Anne Gerritsen
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 16 Apr 2015 09:00
  • Thu 16 Apr 2015 21:30

Featured in...

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.