Matteo Ricci, engraved by Li Zhizao, Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the Earth (Kunyu wanguo quantu), 1601–02, woodblock print on rice paper, courtesy of the James Ford Bell Trust for the Benefit of the James Ford Bell Library.
One might imagine a dealer of rare manuscripts to be bookish—and it’s true. But there is more to Daniel Crouch, a globe-trotting trader based in London who tracks down ancient maps, atlases, plans, sea charts, and voyages. At the age of 17, he stumbled quite accidentally into this career, and he has been matchmaking those who possess unique works on paper with collectors, both private and public, ever since. Tonight, he visits the MFAH to talk about his adventurous career and the fascinating tale of the Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the Earth.
Crouch was instrumental in helping the James Ford Bell Trust in Minneapolis acquire a rare map called the Kunyu wanguo quantu, or Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the Earth. This map—created in 1602 by Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci and Chinese scholars—was the first world map to combine geographic knowledge from both the Chinese and Europeans. There are only six complete sets, each consisting of six framed woodblock prints on rice paper, measuring over 12 feet wide and 5 feet high.
General admission to the MFAH is free on Thursdays, courtesy of Shell.This event is free, but tickets are required. Secure your seat by downloading tickets in advance! Tickets are available online (printer required to print out ticket), by phone at 713.639.7771, or at any admissions desk at the MFAH.
Promotional support generously provided by Houston Public Radio (KUHF 88.7 FM / KUHA 91.7 FM). Refreshments generously provided by Starbucks at Buffalo Speedway/Westpark and Rice Village.