Saturday, August 18, 2012
Can and Sculpture & Monuments (This week's Photo Hunt themes)
For many people, a visit to Macau is not complete without a visit to at least one of its many casinos. For others, a visit to the former Portuguese enclave just is not complete without digging into some Macanese and Portuguese food.
As those who know me will realize, I've never actually spent a dime in a Macau casino but I've definitely enjoyed many meals and snacks in "the other SAR" -- and that many of my recent visits to Macau have been motivated by a yearning for Macanese or Portuguese food. At the same time, I also consider my excursions to this cultural heritage-rich territory to be incomplete without a stroll around the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Historic Centre of Macau and visits to at least one of its many historic monuments.
Although some of Macau's historic monuments (such as the Mandarin's House) can appear to be off many visitors' radars, pretty much every tourist and traveler will invariably gravitate at some point during their visit to the very photogenic Ruins of St. Paul's. Almost as inevitably, many of them tend to be generally content to just take photos of the intricately carved 17th century facade of what was originally the Jesuit Church of Mater Dei -- with or without ascending the 66 steps leading up to it -- and also snap a picture or two of the friendship sculpture located nearby of a Chinese woman presenting a flower to a Portuguese man.
But because I realized that the Na Tcha Temple located near the Ruins of St Paul's (so close, in fact, that you can see it to the left of the photo at the very top of this blog entry for Sandi's and Gattina's Photo Hunts that's dominated by the Jesuit structure) is dedicated to the Taoist god that was the subject of a favorite childhood movie of mine called Na Cha the Great, I made a point to check it out on one of my early visits to Macau. (And yes, it's a small and architecturally simple structure but this temple built in 1888 as part of a bid to halt the Plague ravaging the territory at the time is indeed also one of Macau's valued historic monuments).
However it wasn't until my most recent visit to the territory that I finally checked out the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt built in the inner area of the Ruins of St. Paul's. And even though I was surrounded throughout my visit by hordes of tourists, I have to say that I'm glad I went -- and, also, that I was indeed moved by what I saw in there: notably, the remains and relics of Japanese and Vietnamese Christian martyrs that had been shipped to Macau as well as a historic painting depicting the 1597 crucifixion of the 26 Martyrs of Japan (who I had been told about on my first visit to Japan back in 1982 but hadn't previously realized had their remains removed more than a thousand miles (i.e., close to two thousand kilometers) away to Macau).