3. CHINESE GLOBE, 1623
Made for the Chinese Emperor, this is the earliest known Chinese terrestrial globe, and a fusion of East and Western cultures.
Its creators are thought to be the Jesuit missionaries Manuel Dias (1574-1659), who introduced the telescope to China, and Nicolo Longobardi (1565-1655), superior general of the China mission.
Both were respected scholars, and the globe’s depiction of the coasts of Africa and Europe would have contrasted with traditional Chinese maps.
These exaggerated the size of China and placed it in the middle of a world that otherwise consisted mainly of small offshore islands.
In its treatment of eclipses and meridians and its information about magnetic inclination, however, the globe draws on ideas that were developed in China far earlier than in the West.