By Levine Andro Lao
The canonocal image of Nuestra Señora del Rosario de la Naval de Manila is undoubtedly an ancient sacred ivory icon that deserves admiration, not unwanted controversy, in this country.
In the recently concluded “Ars Eboris Sacri” (Art of Sacred Ivory) exhibit at the University of Santo Tomas Museum of the Arts and Sciences, the need for the public to understand and appreciate antique items, whether ivory or not, was underscored.
This is because of the historical value and cultural significance of these artifacts, said religious art scholar, Fr. Isidro Abaño, OP.
The Crucified Christ icon from the UST Museum had figured lately in a controversy when the National Geographic (NG), in its report on the illegal ivory trade, made it the photographic highlight of its report, giving the impression it was made after the passage of the international convention banning ivory trade in 1989.
La Naval de Manila was made in the early 17th century. The UST Museum exhibit was mounted to correct misimpressions as a result of the NG report.
Made in Binondo during the early Spanish era by a heathen Chinese, who converted to the faith after its creation, La Naval has always been under the care of the Dominicans after being gifted by the governor general to the order. It has been considered miraculous many times over in four centuries. More....