Here's an interesting photo-article about some historical artifacts from Christianity's oppressed past in Japan. The most amazing among them is a series of mosaics made from tens of thousands of butterfly wings, and constructed by a priest, no less!
It's hard to add commentary to something like this. The astonishing labor that went into this, the sheer love of God, love of craftsmanship, love of the art beggars words. Someday, somebody is going to do justice to the story of Japan's Catholics: people who waited for centuries for the return of the Mass after a small number of converts were made and the western priests murdered or exiled. They quietly practiced baptism, year in and year out for centuries, awaiting the day when a priest who believed in the Real Presence and the Petrine office would return to Japan and give them the body and blood of Christ again.
They have always been a minority and--as this art attests--they have always brought to their faith the beautiful and delicate aesthetic that mark Japanese art. Look at it and be grateful that these too are our brothers and sisters in Christ and that their patrimony is ours as well. Say a prayer for the beleaguered saints who made this incredible work of worship to our Lord.