While exploring one of the churches the other day I came across two very interesting scroll paintings. One depicted hell, and another depicted heaven. The one that depicted hell, had the devil in the middle, and a bunch of demons scurrying about, and the one that depicted heaven, of course featured angels and Jesus. The interesting thing about it was the race of said characters. Satan was Black. I don’t mean Black like the color, I mean a brown-skinned Negro. They even gave him an afro! The little demons were brown-skinned as well, but all of the fallen human beings are White. In other words, they aren’t natives of Hell. I want to stop here for a moment, and mention that both paintings are quite old, and are most likely preserved from when Catholic missionaries first came to Japan from Europe. I was really shocked though.
The next scroll that depicted heaven and her angels, featured an all-White cast. Jesus, god, and even the white dove that represents the holy spirit. Everything clean, organized and in its proper place. Nothing like the chaos of hell, and its negro-demons.
My blog is about photography, but before you say that this has nothing to do with photography, please consider that all images speak for us, and the juxtaposition of these two images says a ton. One doesn’t have to say that Black is wrong or bad, when they can simply show you a picture of a Black devil. Just as one wouldn’t have to say that White is good and right when Jesus and god themselves are White. I feel as though this art of implied suggestion (through images) is sometimes even used today.
I’m going to leave it at that. Have any of my 0 readers seen Black Jesus?