|Xiguo jifa 西國記法. Text in collection Tianzhujiao dongchuan wenxian 天主教東傳文獻 / Li Madou dengzhu 利瑪竇等著.|
Xiguo jifa 西國記法 : "important work transmitting European humanistic tradition to China ... on the art of memory (ars memorativa) compiled by Ricci and later revised and edited by Chinese convert Zhu Dinghan 朱鼎瀚 and Alfonso Vagnone (1625)"--Cf. N. Standaert, Handbook of Christianity in China, vol. 1: p.605, 788.
JapSin II, 10
By Li Madou 利瑪竇 (Matteo Ricci).
One juan. Chinese bamboo paper. No date or place of publication.
The cover bears a Latin inscription: “Ars memoriae | P. Mathaeus Ricci.” Inside the book jacket there are two notes (dated 1934 and 1956) by D’Elia: “Trattato della Memoria locale fatto dal P. Matteo Ricci nella prima metà del 1596 a Nanchang per i figli del Governatore di quella citta di nome Wang, cf. Tacchi Venturi, Opere Storiche del P. Matteo Ricci I, p. 269; II, 224. Questa è una edizione posteriore. Porta l’imprimatur de Emmanuele Diaz e il nihil obstat del Vagnoni e del P. Sambiasi.The verso of the title page bears the names of the censors, Alfonso Vagnoni 高一志 and Francesco Sambiasi 畢方濟, and the imprimatur of the Vice-Provincial, Manuel Dias Jr. 陽瑪諾. The recto of folio 1 gives the title of the book and the name of the author, Ricci, and the reviser, Zhu Dinghan 朱鼎瀚 of Dongyong 東雍 (Jiang Xian 絳縣, Shanxi).
11.9.34, P. D’Elia, S.J.” Cf. D’Elia, Fonti Ricciane, Rome, 1942, I, p. 376; Roma, 1949, III, p. 242, no. 22. 14–VI–56.
There is a preface (three folios) by Zhu Dinghan. Each half folio consists of nine columns with nineteen characters in each column. The title of the book is given in the middle of each folio with the number of the folio below the fish tail. The whole book consists of thirty-five folios.
The biography of Ricci, Da-Xi Li Xitaizi zhuan 大西利西泰子傳 (cf. Jap-Sin III, 23.3.a) by Zhang Weishu 張維樞, states on folio 2 that when Ricci left Nanjing for Jiangxi he met a physician who was in government service. This man by the name of Wang Jilou 王繼樓 noticed that Ricci was an unusual person and received him into his home. Later he described this event to the vice censor in chief Lu Zhonghe 陸仲鶴, i.e., Lu Wan'gai 陸萬陔, a native of Zhejiang who had an interview with Ricci and was so pleased that he became his friend. On one occasion Ricci wrote a treatise for him on the art of memory. He showed him how to read forward and backward invertedly. Lu was so impressed that after this he had an even higher esteem for Ricci. See also Da-Xi Xitai Li xiansheng xingji 大西西泰利先生行蹟 (Jap-Sin III, 23.3.b) by Ai Rulüe 艾儒略 (Giulio Aleni).
This book also has the title Xiguo jifa 西國記法 (European Art of Memory), about which Pfister says: “Cet petit traité excita l’admiration des lettrés. Le P. Ricci ayant longtemps pratiqué cet art, était capable de réciter de longues séries de caractères chinois, en les prenant indiffèrement soit par le commencement soit par la fin. Ces expériences, qu’il répétait volontiers en présence des lettrés, lui firent un grand nombre d’amis” (p. 35, no. 3).
The text of the present edition does not seem to be the original of Ricci. Zhu Dinghan in his preface records the statement of his father in law, Xu Fangmu 徐方牧, that this book of Ricci’s was for some time in the possession of Alfonso Vagnone, who made some alterations in the original text with the purpose of making the treatise more clear to its readers.
Cf. Hsü 1949, pp. 208–209; Courant 5656 (Traité de mnémotechnique); Couplet, p. 6; Lo Kuang, pp. 78–81; JWC 1:74–75. M. Lackner, Das vergessene Gedächtnis. Die jesuitische mnemotechnische Abhandlung Xiguo jifa. Übersetzung und Kommentar, Münchener Ostasiatische Studien no. 42, Stuttgart 1986 (with photocopy of Courant 5656).
Source: Albert Chan, S.J., Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 287-288.
Local access dig.pdf. [Ricci-Xiguo Jifa.pdf]