Courtiers and Christians: The First Japanese Emissaries to Europe
Brown, Judith C., Renaissance Quarterly
ON AUGUST 15 84 FOUR JAPANESE emissaries arrived in Lisbon. Strictly speaking, they were not the first Japanese to arrive in Europe, but they were the first official delegates sent by Japanese feudal lords. And they were the first to return to Japan after a European sojourn.(1) Some historians have argued that "no Japanese emissaries, before or since, aroused comparable interest or enthusiasm" among Europeans.(2)
Much has been written about this visit, both in the sixteenth century and closer to our own, but while there is no doubt about the warmth of the welcome, judgments about its meaning and importance have differed sharply. In the late nineteenth century, Guglielmo Berchet reluctantly concluded that despite European enthusiasm and the triumph of the travelers over enormous obstacles during the journey, the embassy was of no consequence because by the time it returned to Japan in 1587, it encountered a hardening of attitudes against Europeans.(3) Donald Lach, on the other hand, stresses the importance of the embassy for Europe, even as he acknowledges that the impact on Japan was blunted: "Whatever influence they may have had upon the progress of Christianity in Japan, there can be no question about the impact they made in Europe. Their visit was the subject of much talk, many letters by a vast circle of correspondents, and no fewer than fifty-five publications . . . Even in countries which it did not visit, the mission had the effect of immediately stimulating interest in Japan . . . That the legates put Japan on the map for most Europeans is beyond doubt."(4)
This article will not assess the relative merits of these positions nor focus primarily on the motives for the embassy or its impact on the Japanese. Instead, I would like to reflect on certain aspects of European reactions to the embassy, particularly the implications of the extraordinary public displays that greeted the emissaries. These displays have been seen as examples of Renaissance curiosity about the world and man and as specific illustrations of European interest in the Other. Yet, as I hope to show, the reception of the Japanese emissaries is better understood as a conjuncture of favorable forces within European politics than as a demonstration of interest in a different and alien culture. Moreover, even if some Europeans may have been genuinely curious about their Japanese visitors, it was simply not the case that the European public was equally fascinated by the arrival of the Japanese. The reception of the emissaries varied not just from city to city but among different social groups. A closer look at these differences and at the gap between the official receptions and more spontaneous responses call tell us much about European perceptions of the Other and about the varieties of outlook within European society.
The reflections that follow have been stimulated by previously unused documents in the Florentine archives. The documents, generated by the ducal bureaucracy, allow us to glimpse the variety of European responses in ways that are not possible in the published accounts that appeared shortly after the completion of the embassy.
The idea for the embassy came from Alessandro Valignano, the Jesuit Visitor to the Orient. Sent to Asia in 1574, Valignano had embarked on an ambitious program of conversions to Christianity by strengthening contacts with native rulers, urging the Jesuits to become more familiar with Japanese culture, and building seminaries to train Japanese clergy and teach the laity about European culture and religion. By the early 1580s he was eager to attract the attention of Europeans to the success of his mission so as to bring much needed financial backing for further work. Despite the relatively large number of conversions, the resources of the small Japanese feudal lords who had converted to Christianity had not sufficed to underwrite his projects.(5) The embassy would also show the Japanese the wealth and the power of Catholic Europe, thus making Jesuit claims more believable to a people accustomed to think of themselves as the center of civilization and skeptical about the advantages of European culture and religion. The very fact that European travelers ventured so far and braved such dangers to reach the shores of Japan indicated to the Japanese that Europeans were surely trying to escape a dreadful place:
The aim sought by this mission ... consists of two things: The first is to
obtain the cure which in temporal and spiritual matters is necessary in Japan.
The second is to make the Japanese understand the glory and grandeur
of the Christian religion and the majesty and riches of princes and lords
who have embraced this religion, and the greatness and wealth of our kingdoms
and cities ... Thus, these Japanese youths as eye witnesses and persons
of notable quality, will be able, upon their return to Japan, to recount
what they saw and thus to give in Japan the credibility and authority that
is necessary for our affairs. In effect, since the Japanese have never seen
them, they cannot presently believe them . . . because it seems to them that
in our countries we are poor people and people of lowly condition, and for
this reason, under the pretext of preaching about the things of Heaven, we
come to Japan to seek our fortune.(6)
The Japanese exposure to the wonders of Europe was to be a carefully orchestrated trip. Valignano wrote elaborate instructions for the Jesuits who accompanied the emissaries and sent letters ahead to ensure that the secular and religious authorities prepared the proper welcome.(7) While the emissaries were to "be shown all extraordinary and great things, such as buildings, churches, palaces, gardens and similar places, as well as silver objects, rich sacristies and other things which will contribute to their edification, they were not to be shown "anything that could give them a contrary impression.(8) Above all, they were not to be exposed to the divisions that were tearing apart the political and religious fabric of European society. They were to be accompanied at all times by their Jesuit chaperones and to stay at Jesuit houses whenever possible:
One must guard that they always be guided so that they may learn or see
only what is good, without knowing anything bad; this is why I ask Your
Holiness that they always be allowed to stay at the house of the Fathers and
not to let them stay at the German College [in Rome] or the seminary, although
they may visit either one or the other. And that they have no relations
with foreigners and that wherever they go, they always be accompanied
by a Father or Brother because nothing is more important than that
they return well edified and that they gain a great respect for European
Christianity. And for this reason they should not have dealings with people
who could scandalize them or who could tell them about the disorders that
are produced at the Court and among the prelates.(9)
Valignano selected several adolescents from noble families to make the journey.(10) Their youth, he thought, would help them withstand the rigors of the trip as well as make them more accepting of Jesuit supervision. Being young, they would also be more impressionable than adults and they would live longer to tell the tale of their European sojourn to their countrymen.(11) Their nobility would give the journey greater status both in Europe and Japan. The Europeans, on seeing the nobility and dignity of the emissaries, would lend greater support to the Jesuit mission in Japan.(12) For their part, the Japanese feudal lords, on hearing the favorable reports that the impressionable youths would make upon their return home, would give greater credence to the Jesuit accounts of Europe.(13)
Because the four emissaries were boarding students at the Arima seminary opened by the Jesuits in late 15 8o, they were already converted to Christianity and familiar with some European customs. Daily life at the Jesuit seminary where they lived included both Japanese and European practices.(14) To reduce what he perceived to be their cultural arrogance and to draw less attention to them when they traveled in Europe, Valignano, who had to leave the group in Goa, instructed that the emissaries dress in simple European-style clothes except on highly ceremonial occasions with the pope, the king of Spain, or other rulers.(15) The gifts they were allowed to bring their hosts were the only concession to the fact that they came from a truly different culture. These gifts consisted of such exotic objects as a "unicorn" horn, an ebony inkwell, strange and wonderfully thin sheets of paper, and other assorted objects--all of which were much commented upon before they were put away in the cabinets of curiosities that were springing up in various European courts.(16)
The immersion of the Japanese emissaries in a quasi-European institutional environment for several years before they left Japan, their conversion to Christianity, and their instruction in a curriculum based on European models (though purified of classical and heterodox ideas) raises interesting questions about the extent of the cultural divide that separated them from the Jesuits.(17) Although the differences between them and the Europeans they would encounter should not be minimized, there is no question that already for a significant portion of their young lives in Japan they had been brought into the margins of the European world. Their familiarity with that world undoubtedly deepened during the two-and-a-half-year voyage before they set foot on European soil.(18) The emissaries were accompanied on the trip by several European Jesuits in addition to a Japanese member of the order and two Japanese servants.(19) The Jesuit fathers so closely supervised their charges that one European observer later on in the trip remarked that the emissaries "would not have lifted their eves without asking their permission."(20) The length of the voyage and the close relationships with their guides virtually guaranteed that by the time they reached Europe, the cultural baggage the Japanese emissaries carried would be very different from what it had been when they left Japan.
Partly for this reason, no one was surprised at the appearance of these foreign travelers when they arrived in Lisbon, the first European city they encountered. To be sure, they arrived under cover of semi-darkness and were quickly taken to the House of the Jesuits, in keeping with Valignano's instructions to avoid pomp and ceremony. Yet even after such efforts began to crumble and they were officially received by the Governor of Lisbon, inevitably setting off a round of invitations and visits from the local nobility, they were relatively unnoticed as "exotics." This was already observed by some contemporaries. Writing a few years after the embassy, Father Louis Frois noted: "In this visit to the Cardinal, there were not many people who came to see them, as happened elsewhere; because Lisbon is used to seeing different nations from India, and because in the city there is such a concourse of people that not much attention is paid in particular to new things."(21)
The key element in the reception of the emissaries, according to Frois, was familiarity with novelty, which by the late sixteenth century had become a distinct feature of European society, particularly in urban centers involved in international trade. So much was this the case and so conscious were Europeans of this new development that it featured prominently in the De Missione Legatorum Iaponensium ad Romanam curiam, a Latin dialogue composed by the Jesuit Duarte de Sande from Valignano's account of the embassy(22)--a manuscript which in turn was based on the now lost diaries of the emissaries.(23)
But there are other elements that contributed to the lack of wonder about the Japanese arrivals. The emissaries were dressed in European clothes; by the time they reached Lisbon, they could make themselves understood in Portuguese, although they relied on Father Diogo de Mesquita and others to act as translators on official occasions. They also knew some Latin, which they had begun to learn at the Arima seminary, and which they continued to study during their trip. Their manners, which were greeted with admiration everywhere for their exceeding refinement, were not just the unfailingly polite manners that Valignano had observed of the Japanese in their native land; they were the manners of Japanese who had been taught what the Europeans considered desirable in polite society. If then they aroused little attention in Lisbon, it was not just because Africans, Asians, and others were a common sight but also because Europeans could see the emissaries as extensions of themselves rather than as Others.
This kind of projection was possible because of the liminal position of the emissaries between cultures. Europeans in Japan had no such illusions. Indeed, Jesuits like Valignano marveled at the extent of the cultural divide between Europeans and Japanese. Japanese culture seemed so topsy-turvy as to be nearly "beyond imagining": It may truly be said that Japan is a world the reverse of Europe; everything is so different and opposite that they are like us in practically nothing. So great is the differences in their food, clothing, honors, ceremonies, language, management of the household, in their way of negotiating, sitting, building, curing the wounded and sick, teaching and bringing up children, and in everything else, that it can neither be described nor understood."(24)
In contrast, Europeans who observed the emissaries in Europe downplayed the differences between the Japanese and Europeans, just as they minimized the differences among the Japanese themselves. These propensities are evident in the surviving European portraits of the four youths. Still innocent of the implications of statements that all Japanese look alike, one chronicler, Urbano Monte, included portraits of the visitors in his account of the embassy to show that "there is little difference among them.(25) More important, in these portraits, as in all others, the emissaries are shown as slightly altered versions of Europeans.(26) In most they wear European clothing; only one depiction shows a somewhat orientalized version of European garments. While their eyes are less rounded than those of their hosts, the rest of their features--the shape of the face, nose, lips, and hairstyle--are virtually European.
A more complicated problem was how to represent Japanese skill color, which did not easily fit into existing racial classification systems. By the end of the sixteenth century, many Europeans were increasingly differentiating between whites and blacks,(27) who as often as not included Moors along with other Africans and occasionally Asians.(28) But clear-cut racial distinctions based on color, with their concomitant racial prejudices, were not yet fully developed.(29) Indeed, there were still occasional discussions about the possibility of individuals changing color as they moved from one region of the globe to another.(30) In this vein Guido Gualtieri tried to solve the puzzle of Japanese color by explaining: "Although it is said that in Japan their flesh is white, and this is believable because of the great cold that there is there, nonetheless, in these [ambassadors] because of the length and discomfort of their trip, their flesh has gained color so that it rather tends toward an olive tint."(31)
Regardless of how it was acquired, the color of the Japanese emissaries was problematic--variously described as olive-toned and pale, leaden and sallow--it could not be easily incorporated in to the continuum of racial skin tones familiar to Europeans. Thus, while some artists darkened their skin slightly, others rendered it ill the same tones as that of Europeans. Like Valignano, these artists classified the Japanese as "white."(32) For them, the emissaries were not so much alien beings as living confirmation even in their physical appearance of the European ability to attenuate and contain the exotic--to bleach away the difference.
Once it was made safe, the exotic could be incorporated into a theater of public power where official receptions and triumphal processions served more to display the strength of European culture, religion, and political institutions than to quench the curiosity of onlookers about the Japanese. Almost everywhere they went after their first official greeting -- at the court of Philip II, at Pisa, Florence, Rome and Venice--the emissaries were met with enormous pomp and lavish public observances where they were paraded for public view. It is this aspect of their visit that has drawn the greatest attention and has implicitly advanced the notion that what drew Europeans to these events was the fascination with travelers from distant and exotic lands.(33)
Yet if curiosity had been the primary attraction, it is hard to explain the massive indifference that greeted Bernard of Kagoshima, the first Japanese to visit Europe in the 1550s. Bernard had been one of Francis Xavier's first Japanese converts, and like the emissaries at the close of the century, he was sent to Europe by the Jesuits to be an example of "the new and miraculous fruit of the Holy Church" as well as to see Europe with his own eyes so that he might tell his countrymen about it upon his return to Japan.(34) Yet here the similarity ended. Bernard hardly made a ripple as he traversed Portugal, Spain, and parts of Italy accompanied by his Jesuit guides. The sources suggest that he may have been allowed to see several well-placed church officials in Rome, perhaps even the pope.(35) But no great crowds followed his movements, no official welcomes greeted him, and no letters or treatises made him the subject of discussion among large circles of Europeans.
What changed in the decades since Bernard's visit was not that Europeans had become more curious about outsiders but that the institutional politics of the religious orders had changed, as had the balance of power among European rulers. Bernard of Kagoshima had been a sincere but poor and barely educated convert to Christianity.(36) He did not come to speak with European dignitaries as a representative of Japanese officials. Since that time, however, the Jesuit order had concentrated its missionary efforts more narrowly on the conversion of the ruling elites of Japan and other nations. The purpose of this strategy was to speed conversions outside of Europe and to secure the order's standing, both within Europe and outside, against the encroaching missionary activities of rival orders. This policy seems to have succeeded, at least for the moment. The aristocratic background, bearing, and connections of the Japanese emissaries were crucial to the attention they received. It was not by chance that the portrait of Mancio Ito in Urbano Monte's chronicle shows him holding a crown.
For their part, the Japanese emissaries, who sought not only to pay religious homage to the pope but to maintain their daimyos' trading privileges with the Portuguese against the intruding claims of other Japanese feudal lords, arrived in Europe at an opportune moment. In the 1550s the pope and the emperor had been battling heretics within Europe. But after the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis, the Peace of Augusburg, and the Council of Trent had drawn the confessional and political lines more clearly within Europe, both Philip II and the pope could turn their attention to extending their powers outside.
Having conquered Portugal and its colonial dependencies in 1580, Philip was eager to assert his power over his global empire. It would certainly not hurt his cause to receive Japanese emissaries who were ready to acknowledge publicly that among all the Christian kings and princes, he was the most eminent.(37) Yet he had to act with caution. The unification of Spain and Portugal had been allowed on condition that he would administer the two colonial empires separately and would recognize the exclusive rights of the Portuguese religious patronage in Asia--rights that had been granted over the previous decades by a series of papal bulls. In these circumstances the Jesuits in Japan, whose religious mission was financially dependent on the continued success of the Portuguese monopoly of the Macao-Nagasaki silk trade, seized the opportunity to press their demands on Philip. The Japanese embassy was thus part of a complex lobbying effort throughout the 1580s in which religious, economic, and political claims were closely intertwined. The Jesuits argued that in Japan there was room for only one order--their own; its missionary activities could not survive without funds received from a share of trading profits. The size of these profits were sufficiently large to help keep the mission afloat because they were in the hands of a monopoly, and this monopoly had been granted to the Portuguese. In the newly crowned king of Portugal and Spain, the embassy found a receptive ear to these appeals. Philip's hold on Portugal was still tenuous enough that he wanted to relieve his Portuguese subjects of any lingering mistrust of Spanish intentions. He also wanted to prove himself a reliable ally to the pope, who had been a key figure in the compromise by which Philip had obtained his worldwide possessions. Accordingly, he issued instructions to his officials in Portuguese India confirming the rights that the Jesuits had been granted there and enjoining them to enforce them. The very warm and public reception that he gave the Japanese emissaries was part and parcel of this diplomacy.(38)
As for Pope Gregory XIII, forced by circumstance to accept a diminished Catholic sphere in Europe, he was eager to accept the homage and obedience of the Japanese emissaries and to display the triumph of Catholicism to the rest of the world.(39) The oration with which he greeted the visitors leaves little doubt about his motives:
There is one Faith, one universal Church, one head and shepherd of that
Church and of all Christianity (that is, of all the catholics that are found
in the world). Our Holiness gives thanks to divine charity that [the Japanese
feudal lords! believe this and the other articles of holy faith . . . Hence he . . . eagerly
embraces their profession of faith, obedience, and devotion.
Moreover he wishes and prays that, following their example, the other
princes and kings of those islands and of the whole world, leave aside idolatry
Since this triumph of public relations was made possible by the Jesuits, the pope also saw the desirability of reaffirming his previous commitments to the order and to his Catholic flock in Portugal. In January 1585, even prior to the arrival of the emissaries in Rome, he responded to the written and verbal entreaties he had received by issuing the brief Ex pastorali officio, which forbade any order other than the Jesuits from entering Japan.
Once the Spanish king and the pope let it be known that the embassy was to be accorded the highest honors, all else fell into place. The grand duke of Tuscany, eager to please his patrons and to strengthen his rank in the hierarchy of Italian princes, expressed his satisfaction to be the first Italian prince to have the honor of receiving the travelers.(41) Even the Venetians Cooperated after overcoming their initial doubts about hosting envoys who were not real princes but merely relatives of feudal lords. Although the Venetian reluctance was heightened by the realization that there was no hope of developing extensive commercial relations in Japan as long as Spain was next in line after Portugal, in the end the Venetians concluded that it was more important to cement their European connections and to remain on a par with the king of Spain, the duke of Tuscany, or the pope than to worry about other aspects of the visit. They compromised by putting a more religious cast to the reception of these new Christians than they would have if they had been heads of state, and they continued to refer to them pointedly as "signori" rather than "principi."(42) But they stifled the objections of nobles like Lorenzo Priuli, who complained about being placed in procession behind emissaries "of such an unknown and so little regarded King [as the King of Japan]," and they put on the most splendid reception the Japanese received, thereby reminding the rest of Europe that when it came to public ritual, there was no one who could surpass them.(43)
To acknowledge these political realities is not to deny that there was some curiosity about the Japanese, particularly in court circles where nobles, cardinals, and ladies were eager to see their native costumes, hear their language, observe their deft handling of chopsticks, and learn about Japan. Curiosity was increasingly praised in the closing decades of the sixteenth century as an attribute to be cultivated in certain circumstances.(44) But the displays of Japanese culture, like the official welcomes, were performances enclosed within normalized courtly exchanges in which the clothing, mode of eating, and languages spoken, even on occasion by the emissaries, were European. When Catherine of Braganza, for example, copied a set of Japanese clothes, put them on her son, and told the unsuspecting emissaries to rush to her palace to see one of their newly-arrived countrymen, she amused herself by playing with the boundaries of European and Japanese cultural identities.(45) But the thrill of the experience sprang from its fleetingness and from the asymmetry of the game: the emissaries wore Japanese-styled clothes in public settings, her son dressed up in similar robes within a private space; whereas the former would be seen by many, her son would be seen by a select few. Her prank in effect legitimated the idea that one could play at being Japanese but that in the real world people dressed in European clothes. Pope Gregory XIII conveyed a similar message when he ordered three lavish sets of European-style clothes for the emissaries to wear during their European sojourn.(46) These were the very outfits that the emissaries then wore on their first official appearance when they returned to their native land, where they set off a craze for European fashions that lasted for nearly a decade among the Japanese elite.(47) Their sartorial gesture and the response it elicited in Japan contrasts starkly with the responses of the aristocracies they encountered in Europe.
Was the response of other European social groups different? While princes, nobles, and officials busied themselves with the arrival and entertainment of their Japanese guests, the people in the streets were drawn by the spectacle as well as the occasional chance to receive charity from the assembled nobles. Contemporary accounts dwell on the enormous crowds that greeted the emissaries on their arrival in every large city. In Rome, for example, "the streets, the windows, the doors, and even the piazze where they had to pass were full of men of every type and condition.(48) This is not surprising since the Japanese came well announced and were preceded by the entire papal cavalry, the Swiss guard, the cardinals and their courts, the households of the ambassadors resident in Rome, a large number of drums and trumpets, and finally various members of the pope's chancellery, household retainers, and shieldbearers. A parade like that would have been hard to miss.(49) Indeed, the crowds were a necessary Complement to the spectacle, which sought not only to impress foreign rulers and rivals with the power of those staging it but to overwhelm the volatile multitude as well.
Evidence of genuine wonder about the visitors themselves rather than about the spectacle is to be found more readily in small towns than in the large urban centers. The reaction at Assisi and Perugla, for example, suggests both less familiarity with exotic visitors and greater awe: "Here also the love of the people was notable, which not content to see and follow them, touched their clothing with their hands and their rosaries [corone], as if they were sacred."(50)
That the responses to the Japanese varied considerably according to social class and geographic location is clear from sources describing their sojourn in Tuscany. These sources are unusually interesting because they consist of letters exchanged by Tuscan officials and were not meant for public consumption, as were some of the accounts published later in Rome and Venice.(51) The letters were generated because the grand duke Francesco wanted to be kept informed about the progress of the visit and the safety of the emissaries while he stayed in Pisa. A sense of the closely monitored nature of the tour and the ensuing correspondence can be obtained from a letter written by Raffaello de' Medici to Antonio Serguidi, the duke's secretary at Pisa. No sooner had the welcoming ceremonies in Florence ended and the emissaries retired to have supper in their Pitti palace apartment than Raffaello wrote to Serguidi, as instructed, to brief him on what had transpired: "Returning home last night . . . I found Your Excellency's letter and I immediately gave orders to execute everything You commanded in the name of Your Excellency; and this morning the Serene Princes of Japan were met by me slightly less than a mile outside the gate, with a good contingent on horseback and we entered Florence at 16 hours." Raffaello recounts exactly where the emissaries stopped and who they saw. He then concludes, "Having taken them to the table, I came here to dine, and as soon as I will have closed this [letter], I will return at the appropriate hour to the duty imposed on me."(52)
The pattern of events described by Raffaello de' Medici corresponds in most respects to that established for the reception of the emissaries at Pisa--a pattern that would be followed in other Italian cities on the itinerary. The emissaries would be met outside of town by a large contingent of nobles appropriate to a princely welcome and by heavily armed guards whose task was to maintain order and security. Thirty of the duke's German halberdiers were assigned to the task, and everywhere the emissaries went, the nobles and the guards went with them. Louis Frois claimed the latter even stood watch outside the Pitti palace room where the Japanese slept: "When they took two steps outside, they were accompanied through the city by all their guard . . . and when they returned many nobles would come to wait for them at the gates of the city; and every night the guards of the Grand Duke slept in the antechamber, guarding their rooms."(53)
One might well ask why there was such need for heavy security. Were the Japanese being protected from curious and adoring crowds or were they being shielded from harm? A letter to Antonio Serguldi by another ducal official sheds some light on the question. The letter, dated March 11 when the emissaries were preparing to leave Florence for Siena, asked the duke to order a heavier guard as they approached the border, "for fear of bandits because word has already spread that they [the Japanese] are laden with precious stones and jewels." As an additional precaution, the letter writer, Antonio Inglese, also escorted them all the way to Siena rather than just seeing them to the outskirts of Florence as originally planned. Banditism, the outgrowth of political disaffection and economic inequalities, was a growing concern not only in late sixteenth-century Tuscany but in all the other Italian states. Whether banditism and vagrancy had gotten worse or contemporaries were more aware of them is not entirely clear, but it is certain that more measures were taken to deal with them, both by means of military repression and the creation of new forms of charitable institutions.(54)
If the problem was worrisome in Tuscany, there were even greater grounds for concern in the Papal States, where it has been estimated that close to 25,000 bandits roamed the countryside in the late years of the sixteenth century.(55) For this reason, once the emissaries crossed the border, the duke's German halberdiers were replaced by a heavily armed contingent of papal guards. A papacy that could not ensure the safety of visitors in its own state would have had difficulty using the Japanese emissaries to forward papal claims of de facto as well as de jure spiritual lordship over the whole world.
Within the safe enclaves established by their military escort, the Japanese visited a large number of sights which their hosts or the Jesuit chaperones thought "worthy" of a visit.(56) Such sights generally fell into two categories: they had either religious or political significance. At Pisa, for example, they first went to the cathedral complex accompanied by the duke's brother Pietro de'Medici and followed by a large crowd. In Florence, after a brief stop at the Jesuit church followed by some rest and supper, they went to the new sacristy and the church of San Lorenzo in a very public display of Christian reverence to the relies kept there. Giovanbattista da Cerreto wrote that they wanted to kiss each and every item.(57) Beyond satisfying the spiritual desires of the emissaries, the purpose of these visits to the religious shrines was to