Valentine Gate

Saint Valentine Statue Exhibition Facility

2013@Komono, Mie Prefecture

The Valentine Gate is a facility that showcases the Statue of Valentine, which was donated by the Basilica of St. Valentine in Terni, a city in the region of Umbria in Italy. It was planned as an element that makes up the “Garden of Fire and Water” at AQUAIGNIS.

“Valentine’s Day is a day commemorating San Valentino (St. Valentine), a martyr persecuted by the Roman Emperor in 269. Back in those days in Rome, February 14 was the day celebrating Juno, the Queen of the Gods and a goddess of marriage and childbirth. It is said that young men and women stayed in separate living quarters. During the festival of Lupercalia, girls would write their names on paper and place them in a tub on February 14, and the boys draw a piece of paper from the tub on the day of the festival. It was customary that the girl and boy matched up spent their time together during the festival as partners. Many of such partners ended up falling in love and marrying. However, young soldiers were forbidden to marry. It was believed at the time that leaving loved ones in their homelands would wear down their morale. Amid such circumstances, a Christian bishop named Valentine continued to marry soldiers and their sweethearts in secret. As Christians faced persecution back in the Roman days, Valentine was arrested for this act and executed on February 14, a day before Lupercalia, as a sacrifice for the festival and a warning to others. Thereafter, Valentine was recognized as a saint among Christians, and the day of his execution, February 14, came to be known as the day of lovers. (Cited from the inscription on the exhibition)

Sculpture is the work of Shin Ozaki