A Japanese Marian icon
Note the color combinations.
"The painting, which measures about 42 by 60 cms, portrays the Virgin Mary with St Francis of Assisi and St Anthony of Padua below her, and St Clare of Assisi and two other holy women in the lower foreground.
Encircling the Virgin is a Franciscan cord belt, or cincture, with three visible knots symbolizing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Those knots may also be an oblique reference to one of Japan’s underground Christian groups from the prohibition period, the Community of the Cords. The picture’s journey has been an eventful one." Continue link
More on Japan's Catholic history
"Christian missionaries arrived with Francis Xavier and the Jesuits in the 1540s and briefly flourished, with over 100,000 converts, including many daimyo in Kyushu. Suddenly in 1587 Christianity was repressed as a threat to national unity and ceased to exist publicly. Many Catholics went underground, becoming hidden Christians (隠れキリシタン kakure kirishitan?), while others lost their lives. Only after the Meiji Restoration was Christianity re-established in Japan."
On your left is another Japanese icon,
the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian,
painted about 1590-1600 in egg tempera.
more images link
Contemporary Madonnas from the Orient:
"THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE is not bound either by geography or by a specific culture. Christ's spirit is the spirit of incarnation. It permeates history and features the thousand faces of human endeavor. Religious art is only one of its many expressions. So why shouldn't there be a Japanese Madonna to portray Christ's coming and presence among his brothers and sisters in Japan? Wherever her Son, there is Mary." link to more
The Virgin Mary and Catholic Identities
in Chinese History. A survey of Jesuit
visual production on China traces how
images of Mary were accommodated to
the Chinese style since the
early fourteenth century. link
Barnes and Noble carries the book link
papal visit to Asia update 8/14 link
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