Saturday, April 17, 2010

Japanese Madonnas

Looking at the history of Christian art, one can find various representations of the Blessed Virgin Mary with varying qualities or cultural aspects to them. (I am also put to mind of the youthful, unbearded representations of Christ one will also see.)

One particular extension of this that has always been of interest to me are the representations of the Madonna and Child that can be found within the Orient.

Perhaps one of the best known of such representations is the Japanese mosaic of the Madonna and Child found in the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth -- which was a gift from Japanese Catholics to the church in question.

Some while ago, I ran into an online exhibit of Japanese Madonnas from the University of Dayton. The Madonnas in question were painted by a Japanese Discalced Carmelite nun in a Carmelite convent in Japan. I was particularly struck by these, which, according to the site in question, "are all part of a work called a kakejiku (hanging picture). Within a fold-out frame, there is a place to display one of the pictures at a time. The four pictures of the Blessed Mother and the Holy Child are to be interchanged according to the traditional "viewing" seasons..."

In a related matter (though not Japanese), I had always noted this Roman style vestment which Cardinal Zen was often seen wearing when he visited the usus antiquior community in Hong Kong:

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