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Itinerandum Sinice factum. [Jap-Sin II, 159]
AuthorRuggieri, Michele 羅明堅, 1543-1607
Pub. Location---Publisher---
Date1580Phys. Desc.11 folios
See Monumenta Serica 41 (1993), cf. below:

JapSin II, 159
Itinerand[um] Sinice factum.
By an anonymous author.
Manuscript, eleven folios.

The Latin title is found on the cover. A correction was later added on the old title which reads: Non est Itinerand Sinice, sed | narratio de bonzio ex India | converso (ut in scheda). A sheet is attached on the cover with a Latin inscription: “Bonzius ex Indiâ occidentali venit Canton. Relicto fratre in urbe Canton | ipse Pekinum petit. Curatus a medico | christiano, baptizatus et uxorem ducit. | Sequuntur occasione festorum etc., | recollectiones et effusiones spirituales | metricae satis bonae nullum | nullum datum.” There follows a note that reads: “Hoc scripsit R.P. Leo | Wieger S.J. Prov. Camp. missi | onarius in China (Tcheu-li) | cum esset in Exaten | mense Julio 1912.” Cf. Wieger’s catalogue (WH): “De converzione Bonzii ex India profecti.”
It seems that Wieger did not examine the manuscript carefully; otherwise he would not have made such a mistake. First, there is no question of a (Buddhist) monk either from India or from Western India. There are many allusions to the teachings of the Catholic Church throughout these poems, e.g., in a set of twelve poems (folios 5–7), which deal among others with the birth of God (the Second Person), the adoration of the new-born God by the three kings, the merciful God who came down from heaven in order to save the human race from suffering, the circumcision of the Holy Infant, the passion and crucifixion of the God-Man. Another poem mentions the nativity of the Blessed Virgin. Finally, four poems were written on the Divine nature of God; the title of these poems reads: Lu Tianzhu shishi 錄天主事實, which reminds us of the book Tianzhu shilu 天主實錄, written by Michele Ruggieri.
Furthermore, the first of the poems on the birth of God (the Second Person) begins with a date: 前千五百十餘年 (one thousand and five hundred-odd years ago), which tells that the poet lived some time during the sixteenth century. This poet who calls himself seng 僧 (monk) reveals quite clearly that he came from Xi Zhu 西竺 and for three years he had made a sea voyage to India (天竺). He studies the writings of (Chinese) sages and at the same time he tries to instruct the people on the holy (Catholic) religion. If we follow the monk-poets itinerary in China, he seems to have been a resident of Guangdong province, as he makes mention of Guangzhou and Zhaoqing, the latter then capital of the said province. At one time he went across Meiling 梅嶺 and reached Zhejiang 浙江, where he stayed for a while in Hangzhou 杭州. He had been also to Guangxi 廣西 and Huguang 湖廣 provinces.

Furnished with so many details, we had little difficulty in identifying the author of this booklet of poems. He is none other than Michele Ruggieri, who is known for the first catechism he wrote in the Chinese language: the Tianzhu shengjiao shilu 天主聖教實錄 (cf. Jap-Sin I, 54, 189 and 190).
Michele Ruggieri (Luo Mingjian 羅明堅, zi 復初) was born in 1543 in Spinazzola in the royal state of Naples. He studied law and obtained his doctorate in Rome. After serving his country for some years he joined the Society of Jesus. In 1577 he was sent to India, where he remained for some years. In 1581 he went to China, where he worked as a missioner till 1588, when he returned to Europe. He died in Salerno in the year 1607.
In 1585, when Wang Pan 王泮, prefect of Zhaoqing and a friend of Ruggieri, was promoted and on his triennial visit to the court, he offered to bring Ruggieri with him. In the company of a Portuguese Jesuit, António d’Almeida (麥安東, zi 立修, 1556–1591) they set out from Guangzhou on 20 November 1585. They reached Meiling on 7 December and from there entered the province of Jiangxi. By 22 December they reached Hangzhou. For some reason, Ruggieri was not able to proceed north towards Beijing, but instead he went to Guilin 桂林 in Guangxi province. He spent some four months in Baishui 白水 (Huguang) and then moved to Guilin again. Eventually he returned to Guangdong. The whole book consists of fifty-two poems of different metrical style, in the opinion of Wieger “metricae satis bonae.”
As we know, Ruggieri began his Chinese studies while he was still in India. However, according to the opinion of Alexander Valignano, Ruggieri’s Chinese was never good. We knew that he was taught Chinese by a xiucai 秀才 (bachelor) from Fujian. One of the poems actually makes mention of most probably this same scholar, considering him as a sworn brother. There is no doubt that these poems had been polished by some literary man.
It is to be noted that among the non-Chinese missioners, as far as I know, no one had made an attempt to write poems. We must give credit to Ruggieri for his courage and attempt to produce something artistic!
The handwriting of the book is clearly written, but does not seem to have been from the hand of a good calligrapher. Sometimes there even are simplified characters, such as 関 [關], 湿 [濕], and 䑓 [臺]. Some of the characters are incorrectly written such as {for 浙, 冤, 華, 顛, 葉}.

For the Chinese text and translation of these poems, see Albert Chan, “Michele Ruggieri, S.J. (1543–1607) and his Chinese poems,” Monumenta Serica 41 (1993), pp. 129–176. See also Albert Chan, “Two Chinese poems written by Hsü Wei 徐渭 (1521–1593) on Michele Ruggieri S.J. (1543–1607),” Monumenta Serica 44 (1996), pp. 317–337.

Source: Albert Chan, S.J., Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 444-446.

For full bibliographic and textual citation see: Ad Dudink & Nicolas Standaert, Chinese Christian Texts Database (CCT-Database).

Subject(s)Christian poetry, Chinese--Early works to 1800
Christian poetry, Chinese-Jesuit authors--Early works to 1800
Rec. TypeManuscriptLanguageChinese, Latin
CollectionARSIRec. #14741