Important Cultural PropertyWooden Tramping-Picture, Blessed Virgin Mary without Original Sin

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  • Bronze, wood
  • L10.5xW7.4
  • Edo period/Late 16th century-Early 17th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • C-711

In the early Kan-ei era (the early 17th century ) under an order of the feudal government to crack down on Christians and Catholics, Fumi-e, or the stomping of images of Christ and the Virgin Mary, was practiced to reveal believers. The Magistrate's office had at first made everyone trample directly on copperplate or canvas oil paintings of Christ and the Virgin Mary. As too many paintings were being consumed, however, they created Fumi-e plates made with foreign made bronze confiscated from Christians and Catholics placed in wooden frames. Furthermore, Japanese metalsmiths were required to cast Shinchû Fumi-e and force people to trample on them.
The creator of this Shinchû Fumi-e is said to be either Yûsuke Hagiwara, or an artisan at Ginya-machi, Nagasaki. Twenty plates were made in one day, but one is said to have sunk into the sea while being shipped and thus 19 of them currently remain. Designs vary from the Pieta, the Crucifixion and the Virgin Mary and Child. However, the pictures have become blurred as if they were worn out, which reveals how quickly the work was done.