From the Polo’s Marvels to the Nieuhof’s Falsiability [DOI: 10.19246/docugeo2281-7549/201601_04]

Michele Castelnovi


All true scientific progress needs controls. Verification and falsification are the guarantee of the reliability of information. For centuries, Europeans have been content to vague and unreliable descriptions of Far Asia. The classic example is of Marco Polo's Book of Wonders; but many descriptions of Inner China from the 16th century are similar: only the sea-coast were verified (since the medieval portolan charts and pilot books). The first author was really reliable for the inner land was Mar-tino Martini, in the mid-17th century; his detailed data and coordinates were immediately checked and confirmed by others (before D'Anville in 1737), such as Diestel, Grueber, and especially the Dutch patrician Johan Nieuhof.


western cartography of China, history of cartography, falsification, Marco Polo, Matteo Ricci, Martino Martini, Johan Nieuhof

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ISSN: 2281-7549

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