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The Virgin Mary and Catholic Identities in Chinese History

authored by Jeremy Clarke

Publication Year: 2013

The Chinese Catholic Church traces its living roots back to the late sixteenth century and its historical roots back even further, to the Yuan dynasty. This book explores paintings and sculptures of the Virgin Mary over several centuries and the communities that produced them. It argues for the emergence of distinctly Chinese Catholic identities as artistic representations of the Virgin Mary, at different times and in different places, absorbed and in turn influencing representations of Chinese figures from Guanyin to the Empress Dowager. At other times, indigenous styles have been diluted by Western influences. As a study of the social and cultural histories of communities that have survived over many centuries, this book offers a new view of Catholicism in China— one that sees its history as more than simply a cycle of persecution and resistance.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

List of illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

This work began as a doctoral thesis, as one way of furthering relationships with Chinese Catholic communities. In the process, it became a project that brought me into contact with an international group of scholars studying multiple aspects of Chinese history and culture. ...

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Introduction: Chinese Catholic identities in the modern period

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pp. 1-12

The Catholic Church in China is surprisingly large, comprising millions of believers. The figure of more than twelve million is not a large number in Chinese terms, given the immensity of China’s population.1 Nonetheless, it represents a substantial number of adherents. ...

Part 1: Images of Mary in China before 1842

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1. Chinese Christian art during the pre-modern period

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pp. 15-48

The oldest and most significant of the Christian relics discovered in China are a number of decorated stone monuments—including a memorial stele and several tombstones. An image of the Madonna and child is among these works, featured on a headstone bearing the date 1342.1 This memorial was found in Yangzhou in the early 1950s. ...

Part 2: The Chinese Catholic Church since 1842

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2. After the treaties

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pp. 51-82

The Treaty of Nanjing marked the cessation of the First Opium War, fought between Great Britain and China. The fact that this formal agreement, signed on 29 August 1842, was “imposed by the victor upon the vanquished at gunpoint, without the careful deliberation usually accompanying international agreements in Europe and America”, ...

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3. Our Lady of Donglu

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pp. 83-110

Marian images in the French style had a significant and arguably negative impact on the creation of a Chinese Catholic identity. The periods of anti-foreign hostility that occurred with increasing regularity throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century reinforced this identity. ...

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4. The rise and fall of the French protectorate

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pp. 111-140

The influence of the French and European missionaries on the Catholic Church in China was particularly pronounced during the mid- to the late nineteenth century, as seen in Chapter 2. If the period prior to the Opium Wars was the time of the Iberian churches, the age of the patronato and the padroado, then the Opium War treaties began the age of the French church. ...

Part 3: Images of Mary in the early twentieth century

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5. The Furen art department

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pp. 143-174

One of the traditional (and logical) ways to help a local church develop its independence is to train and educate the leadership to a particular standard. The leaders would then be aware of their church’s own history, as well as of its place in the broader history of the Catholic Church. ...

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6. The Chinese dimension to the Furen Christian art

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pp. 175-194

The teachers, students and graduates of the Furen art department now produced lively and evocative examples of Christian images in local style. In this way, they resumed the work of artistic adaptation that had occurred in the time of the Zhangzhou sculptors and in that of João da Rocha and Giulio Aleni, discussed in Chapter 1. ...

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pp. 195-200

This book has explored the question: How are Chinese Catholic identities expressed through images? In answering this question, I have paid specic attention to the way Marian devotions are portrayed artistically, showing that there has been a rich tradition of sculpting, engraving and painting in an interpretive and accommodative style, ...


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pp. 201-248


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pp. 249-264


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pp. 265-276


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pp. 292-315

E-ISBN-13: 9789888180998
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888139996

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 12 colour & 13 b/w illus.
Publication Year: 2013