Hidden Christians’ Illicit Sacred Vase Brought to Light in Japan
A centuries-old relic associated with ancient Christian practice in Japan is causing a stir in the Japanese media. The item is believed to be an artifact preserved by Japan’s “kakure kirishitan” or hidden Christians, practitioners of Catholicism who were forced to keep their activities a secret after Christianity was prohibited on the island by culturally repressive leaders in the early 17th century.
Tracing the Kakure Kirishitan Vase’s History
After being hidden for more than four centuries, this artifact—a simple and modestly-designed vase—has been put on display by the family that has owned it for many generations. While the vase isn’t particularly unusual in appearance, it is notable because of a single printed word that has been found on its bottom. This word reads escencia, which in this context has been identified as the Spanish word for “fragrant oil.”
Based on the presence of this one word, experts have concluded that the vase once held fragrant oil used during religious ceremonies. They also believe the vase would have belonged to a prominent person, given how carefully it was preserved by the family that had held it safely for so long.
Along with his family, the individual who presented the vase for study has traced his roots in the Sotome district, near the city of Nagasaki on Japan’s southern seacoast. This is significant, because it was here that the Japanese version of medieval Catholicism was most widely practiced in the 16th century after the religion was brought to Japan by missionaries. O
Article from LewRockwell