Father Martino Martini, SJ
The Father of Chinese Geographical Science



Father Martino Martini, SJ on Italy Scott 3221 Father Martino Martini, SJ on Italy Scott 3221
ITALY, 2014, stamp, FDC and FDC cancel honoring the 4th centenary of the birth of Martino Martini, SJ, Scott 3221

Martino Martini, was born in Trent in 1614, a relative of Fr. Eusebio Kino, SJ. After finishing his studies in Trent, he entered the Austrian Province of the Society of Jesus in 1631, studied at the Roman College under, among others, the polymath Fr. Athanasius Kircher. He did his theological studies in Portugal, and after being ordained a priest in Lisbon in 1639, he proceeded to the China mission, and arrived in Macao in 1642 before settling in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. He spent much time and energy gathering historical and geographical data about China. In 1653 he was back in Europe both to publish his collected data and also to present the case at Rome for the Chinese Rites favored by the Jesuit missionaries in China. His publications were very favorable received by the scientific community, and his pleas for the Chinese Rites were favorably received by the Vatican (at least for the moment). On his return to China he worked in the Hangzhou area where he built a church considered one of the most beautiful in the country. But no sooner was it finished than he died of cholera. Martini was one of the most representative figures of that group of Jesuits who opened up a contemporary relationship between Chinese and Western culture in the seventeenth century. This self-adhesive stamp depicts an anonymous seventeenth-century painting of the missionary in Chinese clothes with a map in his hands. For Martino Martini was the author of the first modern atlas of China. The Novus Atlas Sinensis was published in Amsterdam in 1655. The background of the stamp is a map taken from this atlas. He died in Hangzhou in 1661. Using a Western model, he also wrote the first modern Chinese Mandarin grammar, as well as an historical treatise on ancient China. More - More

Father Martino Martini, SJ on Italian cancel
ITALY, 2008, special cancel for the China Cartographical Exhibition in Trent honoring Martino Martini, SJ

Father Martino Martini, SJ on Italian personalized sheet
CHINA, 2008?, personalized stamps honoring Martino Martini, SJ

The Jesuit Yearbook for 2010 reports the above stamps issued during a recent exhibition "Charting China: early views through European Eyes." The first series shows: the title page of Martini's Novus Atlas Sinensis (1655), a 17th-century portrait of Martini pointing to his map, a geographer holding one of Martini's maps of China. The second series shows maps taken out of the Novus Atlas Sinensis of four Chinese provinces: Peking, Fukien, Kuantung and Chekiang. These are personalized tabs or labels se-tenant with an 80 fen stamp, Magpie Stands in the Plum, issued by China in November 2005 (Design Z11).