In Memoriam Mario Sabattini

On 20 December 2017, Mario Sabattini, Emeritus Professor at the Department of Asian and North African Studies at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, passed away.
Born on July 6th 1944 in Rome, he studied at La Sapienza University in Rome and was a student of Prof. Lionello Lanciotti. In 1970 he started to serve as lecturer of Chinese history, and later taught Chinese language and literature at Ca’ Foscari University, where he served as Head of The Institute of Chinese Studies (1979-1991), Supervisor of Courses of Asian Languages and Literatures (1987-1990), Head of the Department of East Asian Studies (1992-1994), Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures (1996-1999) and Pro-Rector (1988-1992 and 2003-2004). From 1979 to 1989 prof. Sabattini served as Director of Courses of Eastern Languages and Cultures at the Institute for the Middle and Extreme Orient (IsMEO) in Rome. Sinological studies at Ca’ Foscari University are very much indebted to him, together with Prof. Lanciotti. Prof. Sabattini researched mainly on Chinese history, aesthetics and arts.
He was also a translator of modern literature, from Yu Dafu to contemporary poets. He is primarily known as an international specialist in the thought of Zhu Guangqian, focusing on his aesthetics and his contribution in diffusing modern European thought and Crocianism in China (on Chinese scholars’ appreciation of his studies, see Greselin’s report in the Festschrift of 2014:20-22).
Prof. Sabattini was a founding member of the EACS, served on the EACS board from 1975 to 1982, and attended to most of the meetings from its foundation to the 90’s. He was also a founding member of the AISC (Italian Association for Chinese Studies) and its Secretary General from 1988 to 1999.
Prof. Sabattini was also active in the cultural exchange with China, researched at the Center of Chinese Studies of the National Library in Taibei in 1990-1991, and served as Cultural Counsellor at the Italian Embassy in the People’s Republic of China from 1999 to 2003. Mario Sabattini was also the pioneer scholar for the teaching and studies of Thai language in Italy, namely in Ca’ Foscari University.