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Jesus vor Pilatus (Jesus before Pilate)

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Germany (published)

  • Date:

    1950s (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Liu-Ho-Peh, Monica (artist)
    Ars Sacra (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour half-tone letterpress on paper, varnished

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Tim Travis in memory of Leslie Travis

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case GG, shelf 235

Holy cards are small devotional prints mass-produced for sale to devout Catholics and their use and circulation play an important part in the visual culture of Catholicism, as Marina Warner recalls: 'At the English convent boarding school I went to, we exchanged holy pictures as birthday gifts - reproductions of Raphaels or saucer-eyed ragamuffins, dripping with sentiment. It was an index of a girl's popularity, how many such tokens she had slipped in the pages of her missal.' (from: Warner, Marina. Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary. 1976, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd.)

This card is from a set depicting The Stations of the Cross, a popular devotional sequence of fourteen scenes from the passion and death of Christ. Reproducing paintings by Chinese artist Monica Liu-Ho-Peh, the set was issued by the German religious publishing house Ars Sacra in the 1950s.

Monica Liu-Ho-Peh was trained at the Art School of Furen Catholic University by Luke Chen Yuandu who was a pioneer of the Chinese 'inculturation' of Christianity in the arts. This was a movement away from the colonial associations and European forms of missionary culture towards the expression of Christian concepts and iconography in an authentically Chinese idiom. After the 1949 revolution and the establishment of the People's Republic, the university closed and the group of artists it had formed was dispersed. Liu-Ho-Peh somehow continued to work and in Rome in 1956 a monograph exhibition of her paintings was opened by Cardinal Celso Costantini who, as Apostolic Delegate to China from 1922 to 1933, had been an early and influential supporter of the inculturation movement. Surviving the Cultural Revolution, she later immigrated to Canada and her popular religious imagery continued to be widely published in the West.

Ars Sacra was founded in 1896 in Munich by the Austrian Josef Müller as Ars Sacra Josef Müller Kunstanstalten. Until its reorganisation in 1979, it published religious prints, prayer books, and devotional items such as holy cards, which it printed as Ars Sacra Verlag, commissioning popular liturgical artists and illustrators such as Berta (aka Sister Maria Innocentia) Hummel and Jakob Häne.

Physical description

Rectangular (portrait format) paper holy card. On the front: glossy colour image in a Chinese style depicting a scene from the Stations of the Cross. On the back: artist's name, title and publisher's information printed in black.

Place of Origin

Germany (published)


1950s (published)


Liu-Ho-Peh, Monica (artist)
Ars Sacra (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Colour half-tone letterpress on paper, varnished

Marks and inscriptions

Lettered within the image in Chinese characters.

Liu-Ho-Peh: Jesus vor Pilatus / © Ars sacra 12162
On the back, printed in black.


Height: 11 cm, Width: 7 cm

Descriptive line

Holy card depicting the First of the Stations of the Cross by Monica Liu-Ho-Peh (artist), published by Ars Sacra, Germany, 1950s.




Letterpress printed half-tone


Religion; Christianity; Illustration; Prints

Production Type

Mass produced


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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