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The Madonna in Christian Relics from Feudal Japan

  • Image of "Madonna (Madonna of the Thumb) (detail), Formerly kept at Nagasaki Magistrate's Office, Late 17th century (Important Cultural Property)"

    Madonna (Madonna of the Thumb) (detail), Formerly kept at Nagasaki Magistrate's Office, Late 17th century (Important Cultural Property)

    The Madonna in Christian Relics from Feudal Japan

    Heiseikan Thematic Exhibition Room : July 7, 2015 (Tue) - August 30, 2015 (Sun)

    The mother of Jesus Christ, Mary, is worshipped as the Madonna. Jesuits as well as the Mendicant Orders, such as the Franciscans and Dominicans, began propagating Christianity in feudal Japan in the middle of the 16th century. These Catholic sects are known for their devout faith, especially in the Madonna.

    As a result of their propagation, faith in the Madonna was disseminated in Japan along with the teachings of Christianity. Christian relics in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum include a number that show people’s faith in the Madonna. Among them are paintings, copper plate prints, and medals depicting the Madonna holding her young child, Jesus, in her arms. These were used by missionaries for propagating the Christian faith. Various images of the Madonna, which differ according to the period of their creation, may be seen on medals in particular.

    Some of the metal plates called fumie also show images of the Madonna. After the Ban on Christianity was issued, these plates were used to identify Christians by forcing suspects to trample on them. Furthermore, Christians who secretly kept their faith used, as subjects of worship, statues of the Buddhist deity Avalokitesvara in place of those of the Madonna. These relics tell us today of the faith in the Madonna in feudal Japan, which took on a distinctive form.

    Visitors are invited to view various images of the Madonna through these Christian relics from feudal Japan.
     

 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Madonna and Child (Tipus Castitatis), Published by Jean LeClercDiscovered in Fukui, End of 16th-early 17th century
Prayer Book, Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period, 16th-17th century (Gift of Mr. Katayama Naoto)
Fumie (Image to trample on): Madonna of the Immaculate Conception, Formerly kept at Nagasaki Magistrate's Office, Late 16th-early 17th century (medallion) (Important Cultural Property)
Madonna (Madonna of the Thumb), Formerly kept at Nagasaki Magistrate's Office, Late 17th century (Important Cultural Property)

 

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Heiseikan Thematic Exhibition Room  July 28, 2015 (Tue)   14:00 - 14:30   RESERVE_DAY