The Grand Ricci, named after Matteo Ricci -the Jesuit who was responsible for initiating dialog between China and the West at the end of the 16th century- is a unique work, begun in 1949 by a group of Jesuits in Macao, and then in Taiwan. It is an unparalleled publication effort in any European language, covering more than 3,000 years of the history of the Chinese language, the origins of its script, and extending up to the most contemporary usage. Specialized vocabulary is organized into 180 branches of knowledge: astronomy, Buddhism, medicine, finance, etc.
Following the publication of the Petit Ricci in 1976 (6,000 characters and 50,000 expressions) and the Dictionnaire des Caractères Chinois (13,500 single characters) at the end of 1999, the Grand Ricci is the culmination of a joint effort by the Ricci Institutes of Paris and Taipei. More than 200 specialists helped prepare and edit this work, including some of the leading names in French sinology and Chinese lexicography.
This work is intended for sinologists, linguists, translators, teachers, students, and all other people interested in Chinese language and thought. It provides them with information on developments in script and changes in meanings over the years.
The next stage in this ambitious project is the preparation of a CD ROM version, the updating of numerical information, and the publication of thematic dictionaries. Talks are now under way for an edition published in Mainland China.
Public and private sponsors, including French and Taiwanese ministries, were instrumental in the preparation of this work.
BNP Paribas is proud to have contributed to this vast undertaking, whose aim is to promote relations and cooperation between Europe and the Chinese-speaking world. With 4,000 staff members in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan), and a presence in China for nearly a century and a half, BNP Paribas is one of the largest European banks in Asia. The support it has provided for the publication of the Grand Ricci is part of a corporate patronage policy that is resolutely oriented toward preserving our cultural and linguistic heritage.