PAST COLLECTION ITEM
Our Lady of China and Madonna and Child Amidst the Clouds silk paintings by John Lu Hung Nien
These are a pair of unique hand painted silk paintings with frames (13"x22") showing Jesus and Mary. Actually, it is a fusion art combining elements of Buddhism and Christianity. The baby is supposed to be Jesus while the lady that looks like Guanyin is supposed to be is Mary. There is a small red seal on each of the paintings, which may not be visible in the ad images, though. The ones I have are believed to be painted by the American Christian missionaries in China in the first half of the 20th century. The originals were painted by John Lu Hung Nien (Lu Hongnian, 陸鴻年, 1914-1989) and are titled Our Lady of China and Madonna and Child Amidst the Clouds (1947). They are popular images used on Chinese Catholic prayer cards. Nien was a Chinese who turned Catholic and created many paintings in the Chinese Christian art theme. In the 1930's and 1940’s he was an art student, and later a professor at Furen University in Beijing. There he was first introduced to Christianity. Before 1949 Furen University was a very prestigious university, but was merged into Beijing University in 1952 by the Communists. Nien's image of the Virgin Mary has been criticized by some for its resemblance to the Bodhisattva Guan Yin. A marble mosaic replica of Our Lady of China was dedicated in 2002 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC. Similar paintings by him and other artists are listed in this website. The evolution of Chinese Christian Art over the centuries is discussed in this nice article.
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