Padre Matteo Ricci

Matteo Ricci The Ambassador of Europe


On 24th January 1601, Ricci is admitted into the Ming Dynasty Forbidden City. The gifts are examined by a commission of eunuchs, are approved and after three days are presented to the emperor. Wanli orders that the foreigner, Li Madou, remain at his disposal within the palace. He orders the court painters to portray him standing, life size, and he demands the four eunuch mathematicians to learn the workings of the two clocks. Four eunuch musicians learned to play the Western clavichord and Ricci composes Eight songs for vocal accompaniment.

Li Madou will never personally meet Wanli; but he protects him demanding he remain in the capital without going away and maintaining him at the public exchequer's expense till his death.

As Xu Guangqi will write, the foreigner Matteo Ricci, was likened to the phoenix arisen once again, symbol of the prosperity of the empire and protection of the court: "In ancient times, the kiosk where the phoenixes built their nest was considered by the court to be a precious object for the succession of the empire. Today, we have a real wise and great man who makes our virtue evident and protects the court: is not he, maybe, an even more precious treasure for the world? Let us raise up our praises. The day in which we will cease to praise our civilisation can still wait, can still wait!".


Matteo Ricci The Ambassador of Europe

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