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The Jesuits and the Portrait of God in Late Ming China

  • Junhyoung Michael Shin (a1)
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1 Shin, Junhyoung Michael, “The Reception of Evangelicae historiae imagines in Late Ming China: Visualizing Holy Topography in Jesuit Spirituality and Pure Land Buddhism,” Sixteenth Century Journal 40 (2009) 303–33, at 323–28.

2 These are, in sequence, the pictorial map of Jerusalem, the Salvator mundi, The Coronation of the Virgin, and an additional image of Crucifixion at the end of the volume. Among the numerous editions of Jingjie, I refer to the 1637 edition owned by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich (cod. sin. 23).

3 Another notable example of a Salvator mundi is found in Jincheng shuxiang (The illustrated life of Christ), published in Beijing in 1640 and presented by Johann Adam Schall von Bell, S.J., to the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen . Since this article is dealing not simply with the iconography of Chinese images of the Salvator mundi but with its religious reception by the Chinese in relation to their Confucian household ritual and tradition, with focus on Giulio Aleni's mission area of southern Fujian, I will not discuss the one in Jincheng shuxiang, which was prepared and received in a very different court context (see Nicolas Standaert, An Illustrated “Life of Christ” Presented to the Chinese Emperor: The History of “Jincheng shuxiang” (1640) [Monumenta Serica Monograph Series 59; Nettetal, Germany: Steyler, 2007] 120–21).

4 I discuss elsewhere in detail the visual transculturation between the Jesuits' mission art and Buddhist imagery in 17th-cent. China and Japan (Shin, “Reception of EHI,”; idem, “Avalokiteśvara's Manifestation as the Virgin Mary: The Jesuit Adaptation and the Visual Conflation in Japanese Catholicism after 1614,” CH 80 [2011] 1–39).

5 Brockey, Liam Matthew, Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579–1724 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007) 290309. Also see the letter of Manuel Dias the Younger of 1627 (quoted and translated below).

6 Murray, Julia K., “Illustrations of the Life of Confucius: Their Evolution, Functions, and Significance in Late Ming China,” Artibus Asiae 57 (1997) 73134, at 87–88.

7 “E dipoi di arrivato il Padre [Longobardo], posto a sedere in una sedia con una tavola inanzi a sè, cominciava a dichiarargli l'intentione della sua venuta di regni sì lontani, che era dichiarargli la vera religione de Iddio, Signore del cielo, nella quale solo si potevano gli huomini salvare. E gli recitava i dieci comandamenti. Doppo questa essortatione gli diceva volergli mostrare l'imagine de Iddio Salvatore, che aveva insegnata questa lege. E, ponendo la detta imagine, che portava seco, in luogo decente, con candele e profumi, faceva ponere a tutti inginocchioni inanzi a essa et adorarla, promettendo che lascerebbono gli idoli, e da lì inanzi riconoscerebbono il loro Creatore. Il che era facile fra quella gente semplice, con quello che già gli aveva dichiarato e per la buona fama che avevano della nostra Santa Fede. Doppo questo si dava ai principali la Dottrina christiana, exortandoli a impararla per quando là ritornasse l'altra volta” (Fonti Ricciane. Documenti originali concernanti Matteo Ricci e la storia delle prime relazione tra l'Europa e la Cina (1579–1615) [ed. Pasquale d'Elia; 3 vols.; Rome: Libreria dello Stato, 1942–1949] 2:193–94). All translations of Italian, Portuguese, and Chinese in this article are mine, unless indicated otherwise.

8 Fonti Ricciane (ed. d'Elia), 2:193–94 n. 9.

9 Bailey, Gauvin A., Art on the Jesuit Missions in Asia and Latin America, 1542–1773 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001) 7476; Noriko Kotani, “Studies in Jesuit Art in Japan” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 2010) 90–120.

10 The Wierix Family (ed. Jan van der Stock and Marjolein Leesberg; vol. 14.3 of The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts, 1450–1700; Rotterdam: Sound and Vision Publishers, 2003) 154–55.

11 “Doctrina christiana” was a very important catechistic pamphlet in the Japanese mission, which continued to be transmitted orally and secretly in incomplete variations after the prohibition of Catholicism in 1614 (Shin, “Avalokiteśvara's Manifestation,” 35).

12 Brockey, Journey to the East, 93–98 and 305. The list is found in the letter titled “Lembrança para os padres que vam em missam cultivar os Christãos,” Jesuitas na Asia Collection at Biblioteca Ajuda 49-V-7, 317r. Transcription from this letter was provided by Prof. Maria João Amaral at the Portuguese Department, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea.

13 “A muito poucos passos della, entramos em hua aldea e logo nuas casas . . . hua sala formosissima, que actualmente estava chea de mininos come seu mestre estudando, e aqui foi meu primeiro recebimento. O vehlo Franciso, que assi se chamava, deixo me alli cõ o mestre, e mininos foi se negociar suas cousas. Começarão a vir algus letrados, fallamos da lei, perguntarão se tinhamos algua Image daqlle Deus que lhe pregava, tirei hua de arrezoada grandesa, que logo alli fiz entender naquela sala, e pegando eu de hua banda e o velho alfayate que ia tinha tornado da outra, a tivemos pendurada, encostados a hua parede da sala. E todos os mininos cõ seu mestre começarão a fazer Pai, e oração indo elle diãte como mestre de seremonias, dizendo, Adoramos vos Senhor, pedimos vos nos aiudeis, nos abrais o entendimento pera estudar. . . . este foi o primeiro encontro . . . e logo ao outro dia, começou a dar orde naquella mesma sala a fazer hu Altar, pera por, como fez, aquella mesma Image do salvador, que logo se acabou, e a noite ornado o doçel, Altar, e mesa de cheiro, se começarão as pregações” (Manuel Dias the Younger's annual letter of 1627 from Shanghai, dated May 9, 1628; Jap-Sin 115-I, 145r, Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, Rome; transcription by Prof. Maria João Amaral). This specific letter is discussed in depth by Brockey (Journey to the East, 302–9).

14 Murray, “Illustrations of the Life of Confucius,” 74; Wilson, Thomas A., “Ritualizing Confucius/Kongzi: The Family and State Cults of the Sage of Culture in Imperial China,” in On Sacred Grounds: Culture, Society, Politics, and the Formation of the Temple of Confucius (ed. Wilson, Thomas A.; Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2002) 4394, at 72–79.

15 António de Gouvea, Cartas Ânuas da China (1636, 1643 a 1649) (ed. Horácio P. Araújo; Macau: Instituto Português do Oriente, 1998) 69, 76.

16 “Com esta fama se ajuntarão logo as pessoas, que antes tinhão fama da lei de Deus, e desejo de a ouvir, ainda que estavão auzetes, e aquella noite na sala onde estava armado o Altar, se aiutarão todos, aonde me poserão hua cadeira no principio digo no primeiro lugar. Fiz primeiro 5 ou 6 pais a Image, depois fizerão elles todos, a que se seguio a pratica, que constava de 5 pontos a 1 de que era a Image de Senhor do Ceo, criador de tudo, não pagodes, ne idolos mas Deus vivo, e verdadeiro, e de como elle criara o Ceo, os Anjos, e todas as cousas, donde não havia que adorar outros deoses, pois todos erão creaturas, ne temer aos demonios, mas servir a este unico, e verdadeiro Senhor. 2 da caida dos Anjos, criação do homem, causas da encarnação. 3 Breve explicação do credo, e misterios principaes. 4 explicação dos mandamentos. 5 das cousas necessarias pera o bautismo, qual he a resolução de seguir esta lei, a contrição dos peccados” (Jap-Sin 115-I, 145v–146r. ARSI, Rome).

17 Brockey, Journey to the East, 301.

18 Ebrey, Patricia, Confucianism and Family Rituals in Imperial China (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991) 1618.

19 “Non mancano per queste terre e villaggi predicatori di varie sette, i quali, visti alcuni di loro divoti convertiti, e temendo che, mossi dal buono essemplo di questi e dalla forza della verità da noi predicata, la cui luce scopriva i loro errori e menzogne, molti non lasciassero l'idolatria, con perder essi il credito e la sostentatione, frutto della mala semenza che spargevano, cominciarono a discreditarci con i popoli con dire che l'imagine del Salvatore era figura di qualche mio antepassato o mio proprio ritratto, cercando io, sotto protesto d'insegnar nuova legge, d'esser adorato” (Ricci's letter to Acquaviva dated October 18, 1607, from Beijing, in Opere storiche del P. Matteo Ricci, S.I. [ed. Pietro Tacchi-Venturi; 2 vols.; Macerata, Italy: Giorgetti, 1911–1913] 2:323).

20 Ebrey, Confucianism and Family Rituals, 184, including n. 58; Siggstedt, Mette, “Forms of Fate: An Investigation of the Relationship between Formal Portraiture, Especially Ancestral Portraits, and Physiognomy (xiangshu) in China,” in International Colloquium on Chinese Art History, 1991: Proceedings, Painting and Calligraphy (4 vols.; Taipei: National Palace Museum, 1992) 2:713–48, at 724–25. Also see n. 40 below.

21 Jinshui, Lin, “Chinese Literati and the Rites Controversy,” in The Chinese Rites Controversy: Its History and Meaning (ed. Mungello, David E.; Nettetal, Germany: Steyler, 1994) 6582, at 68–75.

22 For the original Chinese, see Zhuzi quanshu (Opera omnia of Zhu Xi) (ed. Jieren Zhu et al.; 27 vols.; Shanghai: Shanghai Gujichubanshe, 2002) 7:938–40. For an English translation with annotations, see Chu Hsi's Family Rituals (ed. and trans. Patricia Ebrey; Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991) 159–65. Interestingly, Bingxiang Luo interprets such religious elements in Zhu Xi's sacrificial rites as a defensive response to Buddhism and Daoism, which attracted the populace with their funerary rituals (Bingxiang Luo , “Rulizhizongjiaoyihan” [Religious allusions in Confucian rites], Lanzhoudaxue xuebao shehuikexueban [Journal of Lanzhou University, social sciences] 36 [2008] 20–27, at 24).

23 Ebrey, Confucianism and Family Rituals, 164.

24 Ricci, Matteo, China in the Sixteenth Century: The Journals of Matthew Ricci, 1583–1610 (trans. Gallagher, L. J., S.J.; New York: Random House, 1942) 9697.

25 Zürcher, Erik, “Jesuit Accommodation and the Chinese Cultural Imperative,” in The Chinese Rites Controversy: Its History and Meaning (ed. Mungello, David E.; Nettetal, Germany: Steyler, 1994) 3164, at 61; see also Lin, “Chinese Literati,” 69.

26 Jiubiao, Li, Kouduo Richao, Li Jiubiao's Diary of Oral Admonitions: A Late Ming Christian Journal (ed. and trans. Zürcher, Erik; 2 vols.; Sankt Augustin, Germany: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2007) 1:532.

27 Li, Kouduo Richao, 1:479.

28 Sommer, Deborah, “Destroying Confucius: Iconoclasm in the Confucian Temple,” in On Sacred Grounds: Culture, Society, Politics, and the Formation of the Temple of Confucius (ed. Wilson, Thomas A.; Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2002) 95133, at 106–7, 118–21.

29 For the Byzantine theory of iconophobism, see Giakalis, Ambrosios, Images of the Divine: The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Leiden: Brill, 1994) 79, 25–26. For the period of the Reformation, see Karlstadt's, Andreas vehement criticisms of icons in “On the Removal of Images,” in A Reformation Debate: Karlstadt, Emser and Eck on Sacred Images; Three Treatises in Translation (ed. and trans. Mangrum, Bryan and Scavizzi, Giuseppe; 2nd rev. ed.; Renaissance and Reformation Texts in Translation 5; Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 1998) 2143, at 26–28.

30 Hornby, Joan, “Chinese Ancestral Portraits: Some Late Ming and Ming Style Ancestral Paintings in Scandinavian Museums,” Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 70 (1998) 173271, at 191; Siggstedt, “Forms of Fate,” 724.

31 Ebrey, Confucianism and Family Rituals, 184, including n. 58.

32 Zürcher, “Jesuit Accommodation,” 61.

33 Ebrey, Confucianism and Family Rituals, 77–80; Feng Liu , “Lunjializhongde zhengzhiyishi jiqizhengzhizuoyong—yilijiweizhongxin” (The political intents and functions in the Family Rites—with emphasis on the Book of Records), Hunandaxue xuebao shehuikexueban (Journal of Hunan University, social sciences) 4 (2005) 11–17, at 13–14.

34 Malatesta, Edward J., S.J., “A Fatal Clash of Wills: The Condemnation of the Chinese Rites by the Papal Legate Carlo Tommaso Maillard de Tournon,” in The Chinese Rites Controversy: Its History and Meaning (ed. Mungello, David E.; Nettetal, Germany: Steyler, 1994) 211246, at 211–33.

35 “Huma molher, desde menina, teve hum demonio familiar que a perseguia. Tendo noticia da Ley de Deos, a recebeo por meyo dos nossos; mas, ouvindo a pratica do cathecismo, lhe apareceo o demonio visivelmente com huma espada nua, e metendo-lha na mão, lhe mandou que matasse ao Padre que a cathequizava, senão logo a havia de matar com a mesma espada. Commonicou a molher o conselho de Satanaz ao Padre, e recebendo o santo bautismo, ficou livre do cativeiro em que o demonio a tinha tantos annos” (Gouvea, Cartas Ânuas, 66).

36 For the meaning of the word in 17th- and 18th-cent. Portuguese, see Viterbo, Joaquim de Santa Rosa de, Elucidario das Palavras (Lisbon: A. J. Fernandes Lopes, 1865) 304.

37 (Li Jiugong , Lixiu yijian [The mirror of exhortation to cultivation] [2 vols.; Chinois 6878, Bibliothéque nationale de France (publication information unknown)] 2:6b). This particular story is translated by Erik Zürcher, but I am using my own translation to make it more literal. For Zürcher's translation, see “The Lord of Heaven and the Demons: Strange Stories from a Late Ming Christian Manuscript,” in Religion und Philosophie in Ostasien. Festschrift für Hans Steininger zum 65. Geburtstag (ed. Gert Naundorf, Karl-Heinz Pohl, and Hans-Hermann Schmidt; Würzburg: Königshausen Neumann, 1985) 357–76, at 365–66.

38 Zürcher also indicates that this ghost might be related to Hong's clan (“Lord of Heaven,” 366 n. 10).

39 Choi, Jae-keun, The Origin of the Roman Catholic Church in Korea: An Examination of Popular and Governmental Responses to Catholic Missions in the Late Choson Dynasty (Norwalk, Calif.: Hermit Kingdom Press, 2006) 240–46; Grayson, James Huntley, Early Buddhism and Christianity in Korea: A Study in the Emplantation of Religion (Leiden: Brill, 1985) 7784.

40 On ancestral portraits and their use in the rites, see Stuart, Jan, “Calling Back the Ancestor's Shadow: Chinese Ritual and Commemorative Portraits,” Oriental Art 43 (1997) 817; Stuart, Jan and Rawski, Evelyn S., Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits (Washington, D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2001) 3549; Siggstedt, “Forms of Fate,” 713–48; and Hornby, “Chinese Ancestral Portraits,” 190–94.

41 Shin, “Reception of EHI,” 325–28.

42 Criveller, Gianni, Preaching Christ in Late Ming China: The Jesuits' Presentation of Christ from Matteo Ricci to Giulio Aleni (Taipei: Taipei Ricci Institute, 1997) 241; Dehergne, J., S.J., “Une vie illustrée de Notre-Seigneur au temps des Ming,” Nouvelle revue de science missionaire 14 (1958) 103–15, at 113.

43 Hui-hung Chen, “Encounters in Peoples, Religions, and Sciences: Jesuit Visual Culture in Seventeenth-Century China” (Ph.D. diss., Brown University, 2004) 266–81.

44

45 Li, Kouduo Richao, 1:357–58.

46 Ibid., 1:224–25, 227.

47 Siggstedt, “Forms of Fate,” 724–25.

48 Zürcher, “Jesuit Accommodation,” 43–47.

49 Shin, “Avalokiteśvara's Manifestation,” 11–12.

50 “A questa imagine della Madonna et al suo figliuolo, che avevamo posta nell'altare, tutti i mandarini et altri letterati e gente del popolo, e parimente i ministri de'loro idoli, che venivano a visitare i Padri, adoravano tutti, facendo le loro genuflessioni et inclinazioni della fronte sino al suolo con molto rispetto, e si admiravano dell'artificio della nostra pintura. . . . È vero che puoco dipoi, in luogo della Madonna, posero un'altra del Salvatore; perciocchè, dicendo i Padri che si aveva d'adorare un solo Dio, e vedendo l'imagine della Madonna nell'altare, senza potersi così presto dichiarare il misterio dell'Incarnazione, venivano i Cinesi a restare un puoco confusi, e molti divolgavano per alter parti che il Dio che noi adoravamo era donna” (Fonti Ricciane [ed. d'Elia], 1:193–94).

51 Chen, “Encounters,” 279.

52 (Chinois 7276 XI [a single folio], Bibliothèque nationale de France; repr., Chinese Christian Texts from the National Library of France [ed. Nicolas Standaert et al.; 26 vols.; Taipei: Taipei Lishixueshe, 2009] 24:603–4).

53 Helmut Feld discusses the Jesuits' Catholic Reformation defense of icon use, especially as regards St. Robert Bellarmine's iconophilism, in Der Ikonoklasmus des Westens (Leiden: Brill, 1990) 211–16.

54 (Giulio Aleni et al., Tianzhujiao dongchuan wenxian sanpian [Documents of the Christian mission in the Far East] [6 vols.; Taipei: Taiwan Xuesheng Shuju, 1972] 2:557).

55 Brockey, Journey to the East, 64–66.

56 Chen, “Encounters,” 272–73. Ricci's mentions of the image of the Savior appear in Fonti Ricciane (ed. d'Elia), 1:231, 2:258.

57 Tei Nishimura , Namban bijutsu (Namban art) (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1958) 21.

58 See n. 10 above.

59 Chen, “Encounters,” 272–73; Menegon, Eugenio, “Jesuit Emblematica in China: The Use of European Allegorical Images in Flemish Engravings Described in the Kouduo richao (ca. 1640),” Monumenta Serica: Journal of Oriental Studies 55 (2007) 389437.

60 Wierix Family (ed. Van der Stock and Leesberg), 140–65.

61 Chinois 6814, Bibliothèque nationale de France.

62 Xiaobai Chu , “Mingqing qiduzongjiao huaxiangliubuzhuangkuang zongshu” (The circumstances of christian images' circulation in the Ming and Qing dynasties), Shijie zongjiao yanjiu (Studies in world religions) 2 (2011) 178–82, at 180.

63 Giakalis, Images of the Divine, 118–22; Daniel J. Sahas, Icon and Logos: Sources in Eighth-Century Iconoclasm (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986) 17 n. 61.

64 Johannes Eck, “On Not Removing Images of Christ and the Saints,” in A Reformation Debate: Karlstadt, Emser and Eck on Sacred Images; Three Treatises in Translation (ed. and trans. Bryan Mangrum and Giuseppe Scavizzi; 2nd rev. ed.; Renaissance and Reformation Texts in Translation 5; Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 1998) 97–125, at 119–21.

65 Feld, Ikonoklasmus des Westens, 144–47.

66 Li, Kouduo Richao, 2:636.

67 Ibid., 2:675.

68 As I discuss above, the Chinese had also had a comparable history of iconoclasm in their Confucian tradition as regards the images of Confucius venerated in sacrificial rituals dedicated to the sage. However, there is no missionary report indicating the Chinese ever questioned the validity of using icons in Christian rituals and devotional practices.

69 “Outro Christão depois de receber o Santo Baptismo levou para sua casa a Imagem do Salvador, Alguãs Cruzes, e nomes de Jesus impressos, e limpou a casa, lançando della os pagodes feitos em cima, e pos em seo lugar a Imagem, e cruzes, e o santo nome, por tres noites seguintes ouvia a meia noite rumor, e tropel como de gente que sahia de sua casa, e passava p.a hum rio que estava junto della. Não poderão os Christãos cuidar outra couza, senão que era demonio q deixava a casa, que tanto Xpõ possuira, a outro Sr. mais forte que elle” (Father Furtado's annual letter of 1623 from Hangzhou, dated April 10, 1624. Jesuitas na Asia Collection at Biblioteca da Ajuda, Lisbon, 49-V-6:128v). I deeply thank Prof. Brockey for generously offering me his transcription of this portion. His outstanding book Journey to the East enlightened me about the Portuguese sources of the Jesuit mission in East Asia, and this article is the first fruit of my Portuguese study.

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