Chronicle of Foreign Lands


The Zhifang waiji (Chronicle of foreign lands) is a concise geography of the world, the first of its kind written in Chinese. The Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci produced a map of the world in Chinese in 1584. The map, which followed Western principles of cartography then unknown in China, underwent several revisions between 1584 and 1602. Ricci’s fellow priests Diego de Pantoja and Sabatino de Ursis were instructed by imperial order to compose a book explaining the map. Pantoja died in 1618 and the work eventually was completed by Giulio Aleni. Yang Tingyun, a respected Chinese official and early convert to Christianity, polished the style of the book and helped to get it published, in 1623, in his own city of Hangzhou. The work divides the globe into five continents: Asia, Europe, Libya (Africa), America, and “Magellanica.” The latter is an extensive tract of land said to extend from near the southern tip of South America to several degrees beyond the South Pole.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Hangzhou, China


Title in Original Language

職方外紀 六卷卷首一卷


Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

Wood block ; two volumes in one case

Last updated: August 18, 2014