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Home Travel in Beijing Matteo Ricci's tomb
Matteo Ricci's tomb
Travel in Beijing

Matteo Ricci's tombMatteo Ricci's tomb (利玛窦陵墓 Lì Mǎdòulíngmù) is located two miles from the west gate of the Beijing city. Ricci died in Beijing in June 1610 at the age of 58. According to the code of the Ming Dynasty, foreigners who died in China had to be buried in Macao. The Jesuits made a special plea to the court, requesting a burial plot in Beijing in view of Ricci' s contributions to China. Emperor Wanli (wàn lì 万历) of the Ming Dynasty granted his permission and designated a Buddhist temple, which had been appropriated from a court eunuch for the purpose. The tomb is of the shape of a small hill. The title on the tomb reads, '1610, Pioneer of Christian Missionary'. There is a cross carved on the tomb with inscription in both Latin and Chinese. On the two sides are the tombs of Ferdinand Verbiest, and Jojann Adam Scall von Bell. Due to Ricci's achievements in China, Chinese people regard the tomb highly and has been doing a good job in up-keeping it and protecting the tomb from vandalism.

LimadouMatteo Ricci was born in Macerata, Italy and died in Peking, China. Against his father's wishes, who forbade any talk of religious topics around the home, Matteo Ricci entered the Jesuits. At the end of his training he was assigned to the China Mission, and arrived there in 1583, where he worked for 27 years. Eventually he was welcomed to the academies and gained many influential friendships. He opened a residence in Nanking (nán jīng 南京) for himself, his fellow Jesuits and his scientific instruments. Later he became the court mathematician in Peking.

Matteo Ricci was a pioneer of cultural relations between China and the West, and his profound appreciation of Chinese cultural and moral values enabled him to make China known to the West and the West to China. Ricci made his reputation as a scientist of great versatility, and by his display of such novelties as Venetian prisms, European books and paintings and engravings, sundials, clocks, and maps, he attracted a steady audience. He designed and displayed for the first time his great World Map which brought about a revolution in traditional Chinese cosmography. This was the beginning of his major contribution to the diffusion of knowledge and the religious apostolate he promoted, that is, the composition of works in Chinese on such varied topics as mathematics, literature, apologetics, and popular catechetics. There were more than twenty of these works. The prestige he gained in the highest cultural spheres by. his wisdom, scientific knowledge, and capacity for philosophical speculation won him a hearing when he spoke of the gospel message. Without any trace of superiority in his manner, he used a process of dialogue which was characterized by an esteem and respect for everyone. This enabled him to bring the Gospel to the highest non-Christian civilization of his time. By working Limadou and Xuguangqiout a synthesis of the human and moral values in Chinese culture and of the integral gospel message, his method anticipated the pastoral approach of the Church today.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Matteo Ricci's arrival in China, the July 1983 issue of an official Chinese magazine from Peking in English published a warm account of Ricci with numerous photographs of some of his better known works which are now in the Peking Library collection. There is a photograph of a portrait of Ricci with the notation that the original is in the archives of the Society of Jesus in Rome. There is also a photograph of the Madonna and Child, a painting brought to China by Ricci. At about the same time, Peking Radio did a long program on Ricci, centering on his role as initiator of cultural and scientific relations between China and the West.

Address: 6 chegongzhuang (Chēgōngzhuāng 车公庄) Ave.C.C.P.Beijing Central Committee School Office.
Tel:010-8323355 Tel. 010-8323355
BUS: Take 107, 118, 19, 26, 392, 4, 685, 701, 812, and get off at Three Temples Stop (sān tá sì 三塔寺站)

To visit the graveyard, prior arrangements have to be made through a tour guide through the office of the Catholic Patriotic Association.