A China - tradições e representações no acervo do Museu do Centro Científico e Cultural de Macau

Activity: Examination


The Museum of the Macau Scientific and Cultural Center has a vast and varied collection which includes pieces of diverse materials namely ceramics (terracotta, stoneware, porcelain and Shiwan ceramics), bronze, wood, wicker, bamboo, brass, enamelled copper and jade, dating from the Neolithic to the present day. Ancient Macao, its diverse population and its surroundings up to Canton, are represented by a considerable array of pieces made using various techniques (Chinese ink and oil paintings, pencil or quill drawings, watercolours and gouaches), dating mostly from the 19th century. From this seemingly heterogeneous set, we set out to look for relationships between the pieces and to identify the aspects of Chinese culture that gave rise to them. In this manner we were able to call attention to a number of different traditions, such as Filial Piety, which covers the longest time period and to which are associated the largest number of pieces, Gambling, which is one of Macao's attractions, Traditional Theatre, which presents itself, nowadays, as an ambassador of Chinese culture, the Pawnshops, of great economic import and depicted in a painting illustrating the commercial activities in the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, as well as, Cricket Fighting, which is currently undergoing a revival, and Cormorant Fishing reported by the earliest western visitors. We were also able to identify from the physiognomic features, dress type, and posture of some of the terracotta figurines representations of foreigners, not only from the lower strata but also from those who were integrated into the Chinese civil service, which, allows us a degree of insight on how Chinese society integrated them. Thus, in this work, we went beyond the specific study of each piece by relating them to the cultural traditions to which they were linked and, simultaneously, to similar pieces existing in other cultural institutions, both Portuguese and foreign. This approach allowed us to better understand the vitality and the dynamics of a millenary civilization and, consequently, to recognize the importance of the Macao Scientific and Cultural Center Museum's collection as a cultural document of a society and civilization with whom we have been in relationship with for more than five hundred years.
Period4 Nov 2020
ExamineeMaria Alexandrina Guimarães Martins da Costa
Examination held at
  • University of Lisbon
Degree of RecognitionPhD