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Exhibit Highlights

burns library

Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings

March 21st, 2011 – October 31st, 2011

O’Brien Fine Print Room and Thompson Room, John J. Burns Library

To view this exhibit in person, please see the Burns Library hours.

For a growing archive of digital material related to this exhibit, visit


The book pictured at left is just one of over fifty books from the Burns Library's Jesuitica Collection that will be on display in the O'Brien Fine Print Room and the Thompson Room from March 21st through October 31st, 2011 as part of the exhibition, "Binding Friendship:  Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings". 

De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, 1615. The full title of this book, translated into English, reads "The Christian Expedition among the Chinese undertaken by the Society of Jesus from the commentaries of Fr. Matteo Ricci of the same Society... in which the customs, laws, and principles of the Chinese kingdom and the most difficult first beginnings of the new Church there are accurately and with great fidelity described / authored by Fr. Nicolas Trigault, Flemish, of the same Society."

The highly accomplished Flemish Jesuit Trigault arrived as a missionary in China in 1610 and died there in 1618; the text featured to the left is his Latin translation of Matteo Ricci's unpublished diary text.  One of the earliest and most competent accounts of Chinese history and civilization by a European, it introduces the reader to European experiences in China dating back to the Tang dynasty (618-907) while offering a comprehensive look at Chinese culture and society.  Ricci is perhaps the most famous of all Jesuit missionaries in China, noted for his mastery of its language and manners, and his effective, culturally sensitive approach to evangelizing that proud, ancient civilization.

Frontispiece map detail from De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, 1615.
Frontispiece map detail from De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, 1615.