February 16, 2006
KYOTO, Japan (UCAN) — Kyoto University Museum is displaying a restored 16th-century painting depicting Mary and the Child Jesus, saints and the mysteries of the rosary. It was used during centuries of persecution by Japan’s “hidden Christians.”
The scroll painting, measuring 76.5 centimeters tall and 63.6 centimeters wide, was restored to nearly its original state to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Francis Xavier. The Jesuit saint, who arrived in Japan in 1549 as a missioner, is one of the saints pictured.
The scroll was discovered in 1930, hidden in a bamboo tube, in the attic of a house in Otowa, a small mountain village outside Osaka. Since then it has been kept at nearby Kyoto University, about 370 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.