Pictured above, is a traditional Sri Lankan statue that is currently on display at a museum in Washington DC as part of the Picturing Mary Exhibition.
From their site :
Created in Ceylon, an island off the southeastern coast of India (now Sri Lanka), this piece represents a stoic Virgin that combines typical European attributes of the Immaculate Conception—crown and crescent moon—with the streamlined elegance and facial features of Indian sculpture. Unknown artist, “Virgin of the Immaculate Conception,” ca. 1690–1710; Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka); Ivory with gilt and polychromy, 10 1/8 in. high; Walters Art Museum; inv. 71.341. Photo courtesy of National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Note once again the date of this statue. The actual Dogma of the Immaculate Conception came later.
After making the famous "Vow of Montmatre" in 1534, Xavier (statue below) completed his studies in Paris, joined the newly founded order of the Society of Jesus and was sent, in 1540, by the King of Portugal to evangelize the people of the East Indies. He traveled to many small islands in the region.
He is reputed to have preached the gospel to the "island of Mindanao, and for this reason St. Francis Xavier has been called the first Apostle of the Philippines."
St Francis Xavier is also associated with Sri Lanka. Local traditions claim that Saint Thomas the Apostle was active there. Xavier brought Catholicism to the Kingdom of Jaffna, which comprised the northern peninsula of Sri Lanka.
This Spanish influence can be demonstrated in the beautiful array of ornate religious objects from the region. Photos and descriptions from four (above) are featured on Wikipedia.
Images like these are venerated (not worshiped) by the faithful because they are known for the granting of a grace from God. First in this line are those miraculous images that are representative of Mary and Jesus. Most often they are attributed with healing, wonderful events or other associations. These 'grace images' are placed in designated chapels which have become popular pilgrimage destinations.
One Papal gift (of many) to Sri Lanka was offered nondescriptly during the Mass of Canonization for St Joseph Vaz. It was a replica of copper plaque containing a 1694 declaration from King of Kandy, King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe, granting Catholics religious freedom. One Catholic, St Joseph Vaz, was protected from persecution during this time and was "allowed to exercise his apostolate throughout the kingdom of Kandy with the king’s blessing." He died peacefully in Kandy on January 16th, 1711.
Notes, Art, Photography CMJENTZ ©2013-2018
My website template has been updated. NOTES pages might have font and pictorial placement discrepancies.
All content ©LumenChristiArt.com,
Christine M. (CM) Jentz.
For comments or inquiries please
contact me. Commissions accepted.
“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures.” (St. André Bessette)