Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

Christianity in Japan has got quite a long time — in the 16th century with the Portuguese merchants. The first Catholic mission began its work in 1549, and the Orthodox in the 70-ies of the 19th century. Not to say that the Word of God got here on fertile ground — the first preachers got about the same conditions as the first missionaries to pagan Russia. However, both Catholic and Orthodox churches managed to gain a foothold on the Islands and in Japan there was even its icon painting school.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

Now Christians in the land of the rising sun consider yourself no more than 1% of the population. Despite this, in Japan, many churches of different denominations and there are even some sects. Where there are churches and believers, is not without icons, frescoes, stained glass Windows and illustrations of religious themes. The Japanese to this case, as any other, responsible approach, and formed his special style of icon painting.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

26 Japanese martyrs who suffered for the faith in the 16th century.

As in any other country, the Japanese masters of iconography endow the faces of the saints national features. Therefore, considering the Japanese icons, you might think that all the saints and even the virgin Mary and Jesus were born in the vicinity of Osaka or Yokohama. In addition, it is easy to see the influence of traditional Japanese painting in these works — many icons visible canonical techniques of Ukiyo-e.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

This here is a Japanese Christmas.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

Here Joseph and Mary are recognizable only by the halos.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

The Japanese wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

The Holy family.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

The Annunciation.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

Virgin Mary with Jesus.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

Jesus and Mary.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

Jesus, Martha and Mary.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

Jesus on many Japanese icons like a girl.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

And this is a relief.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

It may seem that we gathered here to talk about poetry three samurai, but it is also the icon of the Annunciation of the end of the 18th century.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

Here Mary looks quite canonical, although it has some Asian facial features.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

The mural on the wall of one of the temples of modern Tokyo.

Japanese Christian icons: the images in the interpretation

Here the artist has depicted the crucifixion of a local Saint. So did the missionaries and simple believers during the persecution of Christians in the 16th and 17th centuries.

All we have seen is the work of old masters who lived in the 16th-20th centuries. Not to say that contemporary Japanese iconography is in decline, but a new generation of islanders too freely interpreterpath biblical images.

Keywords: Jesus | Icon | Easter | Christmas | Tradition | Christianity | The artists | Japan

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