Flowers and Roses
Gaetano Previati (1852-1920)
oil on canvas
33 x 50 cm

Class of Far Eastern Studies

The Class of Far Eastern Studies, established by the Chancellor Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi in October 2008, includes three sections of Chinese, Japanese and Indian Studies, and also promotes research into the Korean and Central Asian cultures.

The ties between two outstanding figures of the Caroline and Borromaic periods, namely the founder of the Ambrosiana, Cardinal Federico Borromeo, and the Jesuit Alessandro Valignano, who first promoted the dialogue between cultures, inspire the Academicians’ research aimed at studying and making known not only the cultures of other peoples, but also exploring and positively evaluating other religions and spiritual traditions.

Some practices recommended by Valignano, which we take for granted today but were not regarded as natural in his time, inspired the criteria with which Federico Borromeo directed the work of the first Fellows of the Ambrosiana and the acquisitions of books. First of all, if we wish to have meaningful relationships with other peoples we must learn their language, and prepare instruments for this purpose, such as dictionaries, lexicons, historical and literary sources.

It is also necessary for Western and Eastern peoples to understand each other more fully, while respecting their respective customs and cultures, so following illustrious examples such as that of Matteo Ricci in China or Alessandro De Nobili in India. The Class proposes, among its other aims, to examine the constant link between societies, cultures and religions in the Far East, because “religions have left an imprint on the cultures of Asia, have formed links between cultures and at the same time have distinguished them” (Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer).


Since 2008 in the Classis Asiatica numerous Japanologists, Indologists and Sinologists have been
actively involved in proposing research projects, conferences, publications and involving scholars
from Central Asian and Korean cultures. Starting from the 13 Founding Academicians in 2008, we
have increased to the 69 current Academicians from 11 countries.

Academic activities

The activities promoted by the Academic Board, the Executive Council, the Scholarly Committee and the Academic Secretariat, conducted under the chairmanship of the Academy, concern the annual Academic Dies (2008-2018), the publications of miscellaneous and monographic volumes, seminars, the cataloguing of collections of books received as donations (bequest of the Indologist Enrico Fasana) and grants made to young scholars on the recommendation of Academicians.
In 2013-2015 the three-year cycle of studies and research touched on particularly significant socio-religious themes, including those of the family and education, the female condition, in particular in Pakistan (Livia Holden), and Buddhism in Japan, India and Tibet (Schimazono Susumu, Lorenzo Maggioni). In the three-year period 2016-2018 a triennial cycle of studies was devoted to the “Arts in the societies and cultures of Asia”.



San Sepolcro


From January 31, the Crypt of San Sepolcro reopens to the public with news operating hours and special prices

Intorno a un codice 2020


Intorno a un codice 2020

For Spring 2020 the Class of Latin and Greek studies organizes a cycle of three conferences entitled Intorno a un Codice. In each lecture, a scholar will present a particularly valuable Ambrosian codex, illustrating its features.