MRI Forum 72

"Milestones of China-Italy Cultural Exchange:
The Overview of Historical Sino-European Architecture in China"


by Francesco Maglioccola 马方济

15 May 2013








Press Play to listen (Full length: 68 minutes)

Summary of the Presentation

Actually, in the cultural Chinese heritage it is still possible to track down important European elements, which can be studied and catalogued, although parts of them have been lost. Historically Chinese people have always had a particular relationship with foreigners. All the people that weren't born in Chinese territory were allowed neither to get in the country nor to be resident there. Even if foreign presence has gradually been accepted, foreigner citizens have never been autonomous until things changed when Jesuits arrived to China, in 1589. First there has been a slow process of Evangelization, which brought distinctive architectural signs. These could be considered modest signs for their size, but, from a cultural and architectural point of view, they are very precious. One should bear in mind the first action realized by Ricci, followed by examples such as Castiglioni's. Essentially these men have started a completely new architectural culture, unknown before. Part of their work is still there. Part has undergone some changes, part still keeps its traditional use and part has been unused for years.

Something is still there: settlements as Tianjin, river banks in Shanghai and more ex foreign areas that now have newly become Chinese territory. The big-medium-small size ecclesiastic buildings could still be standing there, above all in the poorest areas of China, where they tended to reuse buildings instead of destroying them. Finally, evidences through designs and drawings, still exist in photos, property descriptions make this research very intriguing and hopeful to track this map of Chinese-European architectural heritage. Today it's possible to catalogue of what all these works have been in order to spot what can be improved, tracking an atlas aiming to save the Chinese-European cultural heritage.


Profile of the Speaker

Prof. Francesco Maglioccola (Chinese name Ma Fangji) born in Italy in 1963, and from 2005 has been a specialist in the field of communication between Asia and Europe, operating through-out the Italy and China promoting culture, art and business cooperation. He holds an M.A. in Architecture and a Ph.D. in Architectural Drawing and Survey from the University of Naples Federico II (Italy). From February 2005 he is an Assistant Professor and teaching at University of Naples Parthenope (Italy) and also is appointed as honorary professor in engineering from Henan Institute of Engineering. He was invited speaker in many international conferences in China and talks about Ricci as architect, Giovanni Cola (a painter), the western style architecture in China, and so on. He is also member of Italian Cultural Exchange Association working in Wuhan to establish the Sino-Italian International Research Center for Cultural Exchange in China.