Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Art And Visual Splendor of Christianity in Asia

By Jaime Laya
MAGES OF THE DIVINE Solid ivory santos possibly made by Chinese working in Manila in the 17th and 18th centuries. Clockwise from top left: A case including images of the Holy Family and San Gerónimo (Intramuros Administration collection); Santo Niño (17th century, 53 cms. tall); A case with image of the Virgin Mary, San Francisco de Asís, and Santo Niño (Asian Civilizations Museum collection).
PHILLIPINES---Tradition says that Santo Tomas Apostól (the “Doubting Thomas”) reached India in A.D. 52.  Protestants reached the Dutch East Indies at the same time. Christian missionaries found Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Confucians, Taoists, Shintos, Animists, etc., each with unique and in places, highly developed art forms. They had their own styles, techniques, materials, and motifs. How the locals employed their art in the service of Christianity is the subject of a fascinating exhibit at the Asian Civilizations Museum of Singapore. Christian art is the richer with Pinoy imagination. [link]

Notes: (a) The Asian Civilizations Museum exhibit, “Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendor” is on view until Sept. 11; and (b) Also in the exhibit is a Christ on the Cross (UST Museum collection) that is 120 cm. tall, said to be the second largest known, the largest being at Notre-Dame de Paris.