Titles index   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Misc home |  advanced search |  help 

Icons of the Celestial Kingdom [Collection]
AuthorRicci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History 利瑪竇中西文化歷史研究所
Lu Hongnian 陸鴻年, 1914-1989
Pub. LocationBeiping 北平Publisher---
Date1947-1948Phys. Desc.Archival photos & CD-ROM in binder ; 30 cm.
LocationDirector's OfficeCall NumberN7983.I26 1948cd
Paintings by John Lu Hongnian, Bai Huiqun Bai Geng), Lü Shiyun, Luke Hua Xiaoxian, Francis Gao Ti'an (Tihan), et al. done for the Dept. of Art, Sacred Heart Church : Guang'anmen: Shengxintang meishubu. This album is a digitized archive of the scrolls in the Ricci Institute collection used in the "Icons of the Celestial Kingdom" exhibition.
Photographed and digitized by Kaz Tsuruta. 25 scroll paintings: photos (with CD-ROM .tif images, printed thumbnails, and enlarged details of the artists seals and signatures. Titles and Colophon details as follows (numbers apply to scrolls):

1. THE ANNUNCIATION. Silk, Beijing, 1947, John Lu Hongnian. - 2. BETHLEHEM INN. Silk, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 3. ANGEL ANNOUNCING TO THE SHEPHERDS. Silk, 1948, Luke Hua Xiaoxian. 4. NATIVITY (WITH ANGELS). Silk, Beijing, Guang’an Gate, Sacred Heart Church, Luke Hua Xiaoxian. 5. THE NATIVITY (WITH SHEPHERDS). Silk, Beijing Summer 1948, Lü Biyun. 6. THE VISIT OF THE MAGI. Silk, Guang'an Gate,1948, Sacred Heart Church, Luke Hua Xiaoxian. 7. THE HOLY FAMILY (MANGER). Silk, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 8. THE FLIGHT TO EGYPT. Silk, Beijing, Guang'an Gate, Sacred Heart Church, Lü Biyun. 9. HOLY FAMILY (LESSONS). Silk, Beijing, "Painted in the old capital" Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 10. JESUS WITH MARTHA AND MARY. Silk, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 11. MOTHER AND CHILD (BANANA TREE). Silk, John Lü Biyun. 12. MOTHER AND CHILD (FLOWER). Silk, Beijing, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 13. MOTHER AND CHILD (SPINNING). Silk, Beijing, Guang'an Gate, Sacred Heart Church, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 14. MOTHER AND CHILD (RECITING LESSON). Silk, Francis Gao Ti'an (Tihan) 15. MOTHER AND CHILD (WRITING). Silk, Beijing, Guang’an Gate, Sacred Heart Church, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 16. MOTHER AND CHILD (WRITING). Silk, Beijing, Guang'an Gate, Sacred Heart Church, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 17. MOTHER AND CHILD (Imitating a famous Ming painting). Silk, Beijing, “Painted in the old capital”, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 18. MOTHER LEANING ON CHILD (PINE TREE). Silk, Beijing, Guang’an Gate, Sacred Heart Church, Luke Hua Xiaoxian. 19. MOTHER AND CHILD (CLOUDS). Silk, Beijing, 1947, John Lu Hongnian. 20. MOTHER AND CHILD (ANGEL, CLOUDS). Silk, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng). 21. OUR LADY ON THE CRESCENT MOON. Silk, Luke Hua Xiaoxian. 22. OUR LADY (OPEN HANDS). Silk, Luke Hua Xiaoxian. 23. OUR LADY (CLASPED HANDS). Silk, Beijing, Guang’an Gate, Sacred Heart Church, Luke Hua Xiaoxian. 24. OUR LADY (PARROT). Silk, Beijing, Guang’an Gate, Sacred Heart Church, Luke Hua Xiaoxian. 25. TWO LADIES (ONE IS TAKEN, ONE IS LEFT). Silk, Beijing, Guang’an Gate, 1948, Bai Huiqun (Bai Geng).
See online exhibit.

"One important dimension of Chinese art in the first half of the 20th century was an emphasis on individualism which emerged in the context of nationalist fervor. At the same time, together with an increased exposure to foreign ideas, there was a sense of identification with the culture of the past. These characteristics came together in a Chinese Christian school of painting which arose in Beijing between the two world wars at the Catholic University of Beijing, but lasted only until 1949. The university was founded by American Benedictine monks from Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1925. Two years later, the Ministry of Education recognized it under the Chinese name Furen, an expression taken from the Analects of Confucius (Book XII, ch.24) which can be translated "promotion of righteousness."
The University had an art department which stressed Chinese traditional painting. By 1943 a separate section of European art had been added. Several faculty members began to paint Christian subjects in Chinese style. They were encouraged by Archbishop Celso Costantini (1876-1958), first Apostolic Delegate of the Vatican to China. He had been a devotee of the arts for many years. Already in 1923, one year after his assignment to China, he had encouraged the development of a distinctive Chinese Christian art. He had four beliefs: Western style art is a style unsuited to China; Western Christian art used in China gives the impression that Christianity is a Western, not universal religion; the Church throughout its history has adopted and adapted local art forms; Chinese art and culture provide many opportunities for adoption and adaptation. In 1937, the first Chinese Catholic Art Exhibit was held at Furen University.

Luke Chen, a prominent leader of the Furen University painters, in describing this Chinese Christian art form said: "I believe that when I paint the wonders of Christianity according to the ancient rules of Chinese art, the painted object exerts an externally new and unusual effect, so that at the same time I enrich to a marked degree, the old rules of Chinese painting."
This observation of Luke Chen rings true. Similar to the icons of the Russian and Greek Churches, Christian paintings in Chinese style inspire a certain sense of divinity and reverence.

The paintings displayed in this exhibit were all painted on silk in Beijing about the 1930s and 1940s. They were brought to France shortly thereafter. In 1992 they were acquired by the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History of the Center for the Pacific Rim at the University of San Francisco. The paintings were mounted on scrolls in Hong Kong through the kindness of the Instituto Cultural de Macau after an exhibit in Macau from November 1994 to January 1995. The Paintings were then displayed at the Missao de Macau in Lisbon from December 1995 to March 1996. Later in 1996 they were exhibited in San Francisco at the Pacific Heritage Museum.
The paintings presented here have as their main subjects Jesus; Mary, the Mother of Jesus; Joseph the husband of Mary and guardian of Jesus. The themes are inspired from the gospels, the basic Christian documents which treat the life and teachings of Jesus, His death and resurrection. The paintings on exhibit are inspired especially by those parts of the gospels which treat the announcement of the coming of Jesus, Son of God from heaven into the world; His birth; His childhood. Only one painting here portrays Jesus as an adult. Some of the paintings of Mary depict her surrounded by clouds to express her special closeness to Heaven.
In other parts of the world, such as Rome, Sankt Augustin (Germany) and Taipei, original paintings from the Furen school can still be found. These also represent episodes from the life of Christ as narrated in the four gospels, and the range of themes is broader.

The paintings were mounted on scrolls in Hong Kong through the kindness of the Instituto Cultural de Macau after an exhibit in Macau from November 1994 to January 1995. The paintings were then displayed at the Missão de Macau in Lisbon from December 1995 to March 1996. Later in 1996 they were exhibited in San Francisco at the Pacific Heritage Museum and at Grace Cathedral. In 1998 they were exhibited at the USF Thacher Gallery, and in 2008 they were shown at the St. Aloysius College in Sydney, Australia, for World Youth Day." -- from the exhibit program by Fr. Edward Malatesta, S.J.

Subject(s)Scrolls, Chinese--Christian themes
Christian art and symbolism--China--20th century
Chinese Christian painting--20th century
Art--China--European influences
Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History 利瑪竇中西文化歷史研究所--Collection--Artwork
Rec. TypeArtwork (scroll painting)LanguageChinese 中文
CollectionRicci Institute LibraryRec. #1431