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Making a Map to Tell a Story

 A Complete Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the World (detail), 1602, by Matteo Ricci (Italian, 1552–1610), with Li Zhizao (Chinese, 1565–1630), printed by Zhang Wentao (Chinese, dates unknown). China; Beijing. Six-panel woodblock print; ink on paper. Owned by the James Ford Bell Trust, held at the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota.

 A Complete Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the World (detail), 1602, by Matteo Ricci (Italian, 1552–1610), with Li Zhizao (Chinese, 1565–1630), printed by Zhang Wentao (Chinese, dates unknown). China; Beijing. Six-panel woodblock print; ink on paper. Owned by the James Ford Bell Trust, held at the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota.

A Complete Map of the World (detail), 1674, by Ferdinand Verbiest (Flemish, 1623–1688). China; Beijing. Eight-panel woodblock print; ink on paper. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C., G3200 1674.V4.

A Complete Map of the World (detail), 1674, by Ferdinand Verbiest (Flemish, 1623–1688). China; Beijing. Eight-panel woodblock print; ink on paper. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C., G3200 1674.V4.

 A Complete Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the World (detail), 1602, by Matteo Ricci (Italian, 1552–1610), with Li Zhizao (Chinese, 1565–1630), printed by Zhang Wentao (Chinese, dates unknown). China; Beijing. Six-panel woodblock print; ink on paper. Owned by the James Ford Bell Trust, held at the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota.
A Complete Map of the World (detail), 1674, by Ferdinand Verbiest (Flemish, 1623–1688). China; Beijing. Eight-panel woodblock print; ink on paper. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C., G3200 1674.V4.
Objective: 

Students create collaborative maps that combine images, ideas, and multiple viewpoints to represent their community. Then, connect this approach to the collaboration between Jesuit Missionaries and Chinese cartographers working at the Chinese court during the 17th century. Finally, students will analyze translations from the Ricci and Verbiest maps as primary sources to understand how maps are sources for understanding how people viewed their place in the world.

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Standards:

7.8.5     Detail advances made in literature, the arts, science, mathematics, cartography, engineering, and the understanding of human anatomy and astronomy (e.g., by Dante Alighieri, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo di Buonarroti Simoni, Johann Gutenberg, William Shakespeare).
7.11.1   Know the great voyages of discovery, the locations of the routes, and the influence of cartography in the development of a new European worldview.
10.4.1   Describe the rise of industrial economies and their link to imperialism and colonial-ism (e.g., the role played by national security and strategic advantage; moral issues raised by the search for national hegemony, Social Darwinism, and the missionary impulse; material issues such as land, resources, and technology). 

Materials:     

  • Digital Ricci Map
  • Digital Verbiest Map
  • Computer with online access
  • Projections or print outs of a variety of maps
  • Pencils, pens, scissors, glue, large sheets of construction paper, rulers, collage materials
  • 12”x18” paper for each pair

Procedure:

Day 1: Personal Mapping

1) Ask students to describe what a map is. What can maps show? What is the purpose of maps? What are the common features of most maps? Have students ever seen a map that is imaginary? Explain that maps are tools to show ideas about a particular place.

            Common features of maps may usually include:

                        • Title that gives the purpose of the map
                       • City, state, and country names; roads and highways
                       • Geographic features such as bodies of water, rivers, oceans, mountains
                       • Legend or key that shows symbols and/or use of color

            Maps for particular purposes may include:

                        • Places of interest (monuments, tourist sites)
                       • Scientific or political data
                       • Images of these features
                       • Notations and details about people and places shown                                                                    

2) Tell students that they will create personal maps to show to show their “daily world.” Assign each student to make a map showing their home in relation to school. They may not use any other map or online reference. Their maps can be creative and original.

This is a good time to show examples of other creative maps.

            Encourage students to include landmarks that others would recognize as useful to understanding their maps. (i.e. bus stop, cross street, prominent building, store, or land feature, etc.) Explain that this is the first step towards a final product.

3) At the end of the class period, invite students to do a gallery walk. Then, discuss what features are unique, creative, or informative.

 

Day 2: Creating a Collaborative Map

4) Allow students to continue finishing their maps. Then, pair your students to make a collaborative map showing all the relevant information from their first maps. This second map should include BOTH of their homes in relation to the school and reflect the style, technique, and ideas of their partner on the final product. (12" x 18" paper).         

Map should include:

  • Both of their homes & the school
  • Landmarks that most classmates might know
  • Geographic features
  • Street names if known
  • Facts about the area
  • Drawings to enhance or demonstrate
  • Key or legend to explain symbols used

Ask students if there is any historical information, folklore, or stories about anything in their neighborhood. Whether “true” or not, these details could be added to their maps. For example, “Place to buy the best pizza” or “Place where Sally crashed her bike in fourth grade” or “Best place for skateboarding” etc.

5) Have students share their completed maps. Discuss what they realized while doing this activity. What was difficult? If you did this a third time, what would you do differently?    

6) Introduce the Ricci and Verbiest maps to your students. Visit the Digital Verbiest Map: http://verbiest.asianart.org and the Digital Ricci Map: http://ricci.asianart.org. Tell students that they will be seeing the oldest existing Chinese map that shows North America. Explain that Ricci’s A Complete Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the World was a collaboration between European and Chinese mapmakers to show their understanding of the world in the late 1500s. Remind students that this map was made at the height of the Age of Exploration. Show students the Ricci map. Note the inclusion of detailed descriptions. When students see the Verbiest map, point out the illustrations and translation.

7) Optional Homework: Share the digital links to each map with your students and have them complete a Venn Diagram comparing the Ricci and Verbiest Maps.

 

Day 3: Mapping Perspectives: The Ricci and Verbiest Maps

1) Students examine the Ricci map and compare geographic regions shown on this map with a present-day world map (example: Google Earth).

2) Distribute “Where in the World” worksheet. Ask students to read the descriptions of people and places described on the Ricci map in an effort to predict or identify the place that each excerpt describes. Then share the answers and discuss how similar and different the descriptions are from students’ current understandings of those locations.

3) Students choose to focus on either the Ricci or Verbiest map. Using the online interactives (ricci.asianart.org or verbiest.asianart.org), each student will choose one translation and write a reflection on how the map impacts our understanding of time and place, author, and audience using the translation as evidence.

 

This curriculum was made possible with generous support from the James Ford Bell Trust.

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