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About our exhibition

Step into a world prior to the age of GPS and wayfinding within our fingertips.

How did people create and utilize maps centuries ago? When we examine old maps, besides appreciating their beauty, we may ponder why they were not primarily created for navigation and did not accurately describe geographic reality. Here is an era of ancient mapmaking when representation of reality was not of foremost concern.

The HKUST Library has amassed a significant collection of Western printed maps of China spanning the 16th to 19th centuries. Since 2015, thanks to the generous donation by Dr. Ko Pui-Shuen, this collection was further enriched. The exhibition features a curated selection of items from this valuable collection, highlighting how the land and geography of China were portrayed by European and Chinese mapmakers.

These maps guide us in transitioning from viewing the world through our contemporary lens to embracing the perspectives of mapmakers from different times in the past. Their presentations may break perception stereotypes, challenge our preconceived notions about the advancement of knowledge and technology throughout history, and impart fresh understanding of ancient maps and mapmaking.

To enrich the stories we convey, the exhibition includes important maps and artifacts beyond those of the HKUST collection. While most of these are image reproductions, there are also notable exhibits such as a special original map on loan from local collector Mr. Ronald Tham and Nestorian crosses from the University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong. We express our deepest appreciation for their support of this exhibition.


Project Management Team

Kevin HO, Clara KWAN, Peggy LEE, Irene LI, Edward SPODICK, Joyce YAU

Exhibition Curation


Marco CABOARA, Christine Maria KAISER

Content Support

Lester CHAN, Samson CHOI, Qiuzi GUO, Peggy LEE, Gabi WONG, Leo WONG

Text Editors

Catherine KWOK, Shirley ZHANG

Exhibits Loan

Ronald THAM

University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong

Exhibition Designer

Studio Cassells Limited

Exhibition Fabricator

Happy Blue Ocean Limited

Conservation Consultant


Book Cradle Production Team

Tze Wah LU, Fiona MA, June OR

Running Game

Development Team

Sam CHU, Liuruo HAN

Content Support

Jeffrey CHAN, Giann CHUNG

AR Ricci Map (Mobile App)

Development Team

Kentaro TAKAHIRA, Boyu LI, Wai TONG, Linping YUAN

Early ideation

Yifang WANG, Leni WANG

Video Production

Paola CALANCA, Andy CHEUNG, Anthony HO, Ziqian MA, Felicia PANG, Jeffrey TUNG, Delores YIP


Adrian LAI

Promotional Materials

Thomas NG, Vanaie LIU, Simon WONG, Hoiyin WONG

HKUST Partners

Shaw Auditorium

VisLab, Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Content Contributors

Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal

Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota

Seoul National University Museum


Advisory Committee for HKUST Library Special Collections

Student Docents

Masieh ALI, Ka Wai CHAN, Samuel Hei Ching CHAN, Yuen Ying CHAN, Hou Tin CHENG, Zhi Yu CHUA, Wing CHUNG, Yuyu FU, Muhammad Shaheer GHAZNAVI, Chengru HAN, Wing Miu HO, Tzu-yao HSIAO, Tayeeb Bin KALAM, Ho Wun LAU, Tsz Hin LEE, Tsz Lun LEE, Haixin MA, Wan Tsz PANG, Yu Hong PANG, Karthik PRAVEEN, Saruttaya SANGKHAPHAN, Paolo Mendoza SILVA, India Filippa SILVESTRINO, Anastassiya SOLOVYOVA, Oengus SWAN, Padmini THIRUMALAI ANANTHAN PILLAI, Hiu Man WO, Yu Ching WONG