Our Lady of China by Rohn and Associates Design

Longtime readers will know that I have long been interested in historical examples of Catholic liturgical arts from the Orient. As such, it was with great interest that I received news of a new commission undertaken by Rohn and Associates Design Inc. for a statue of Our Lady of China, commissioned by a Chinese parish located in Chicago's Chinatown district.

Here is a description of the project from Rohn:
They wanted to be loyal to an image that reflected only some elements of the early Chinese kingdom in the garments and expressed the love of the Blessed Mother while presenting her child to her people.

Small details were especially important in this statue. Our Lady of China is wearing an empress dress and hat with a carved Phoenix at the top, as well as a metal halo traditional to Catholic statues and similar to those existing in the church. In her inner dress, decorated with gold leaf accents, there is also a delicately painted Phoenix. In traditional Chinese clothing, only women were allowed to wear images of the Phoenix. She is holding baby Jesus, who is clad in traditional Chinese emperor’s clothes—yellow, as only an emperor would wear. His Mandarin-style hat has a depiction of two dragons and a Mandarin symbol. 
The work was inspired by an early 20th century image painted by John Lu Hung Nien.

Here are some images showing both the completed project as well as the initial design:

An interesting mixture of influences in this beautiful statue. Here is a slightly closer view:

I would be remiss in my duties if I failed to note that this is actually the second statue of Our Lady of China produced by Rohn. The first, which was actually the inspiration for this project, was one they completed for Old St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. You will see that particular project, while sharing certain similarities with the present one, is also quite different in character per the wishes of each respective client:

Our Lady of China, Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.