Asian Madonna Child

    ‘Ex Oriente Lux’: Marian Art of Asia

    June 26 – Sept. 8, 2017

    Asian Marian art presents a variety of features. One of the most common and widespread is what we call missionary art — devotional art imported by missionaries during the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, early efforts of inculturation in India and China during the 17th and 18th centuries led to the creation of a typical Asian physical type of the Madonna while safeguarding the classical themes of Marian iconography such as the Nativity, the Visitation and others. The 20th century, before and after Vatican II, would bring major changes in two directions. On the one hand, the art of the Madonna would seek a more pronounced indigenous quality and identity. But, on the other hand, there was also the tendency to find inspiration in contemporary Western art. The result was a great variety of styles rather than themes.

    Asian art from the Marian Library's collections represents a number of countries, not only China and India, but also Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Singapore. Even Uzbekistan, Nepal and Indonesia are represented with their own original contributions to Marian art. 

    This exhibit is an attempt to open our horizons to the originality of Asian Marian paintings and statuary. The Asian continent is not only immense but immensely diverse. It is our intention to give initial impressions on how Mary is received, to show some traits of cultural and religious originality, and so to prepare a deeper and more specific understanding of the rich contribution the many countries of Asia are making to religious art in general and to Marian art in particular.

    Open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., closed July 4 and Sept. 4. Free parking passes can be obtained at the visitor parking information center. 

    In the exhibit...

    The four pieces on display here represent a small, but diverse sample of those on display in the Marian Library Gallery. All pieces in the exhibit are part of the Marian Library's vast art collection.