Walking Macao, Reading the Baroque

Walking Macao, Reading the Baroque

Jeremy Tambling
Louis Lo
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Walking Macao, Reading the Baroque
    Book Description:

    Walking Macao, Reading the Baroque is a guide-book with a difference. It brings to the reader the art and architecture of Macao and the baroque treasures that make the territory so attractive. Lavishly illustrated, Walking Macao, Reading the Baroque helps the reader who wants to understand the complex history and layout of the city as a Portuguese ex-colony founded in the sixteenth century, and as a modern Chinese city. As the authors consider the special nature of Macao's baroque, they discuss whether its Chinese architecture – its temples, gardens and houses – is also baroque; and what is the importance of the new casino architecture, much of which imitates 'the baroque' in its postmodern character. Weaving discussion of Camões' epic poem, The Lusiads, about Portuguese imperialism, and Chinnery's paintings into the exploration of Macao's present buildings, the book contains 125 original photographs that add to the unique perspective that it provides for the thoughtful visitor or the longstanding lover of the city. To create this new way of looking at Macao, the authors draw on critical, cultural and 'postmodern' theory inspired by the baroque, discussing in particular what the ideas of Walter Benjamin, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze can bring to our understanding of Macao and the baroque. The book gives a sophisticated reading of contemporary literary and cultural theory, and theory about cities, and helps the student understand this through the detailed reading it gives of the streets of Macao as a specific postcolonial and postmodern city. This original and stimulating book examines Macao's heritage, and asks as much about the cultural memories stored up in the city as it does about its new and exciting architecture.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-570-3
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Chapter 1 Learning from Macao: An Introduction
    (pp. 2-19)

    The impression visitors who do not penetrate the city of Macao to its old heart will get is of a capital of consumption, full of high-rise buildings, brightly coloured neon lights, and casinos. It is hard to link the two: the older colonised space and this new reclaimed land. Our chapter-title refers to Robert Venturi’s 1977 book on the postmodern, Learning from Las Vegas. As Macao is often called the Las Vegas of Asia, and has a bigger turnover and better architecture than Las Vegas (though Las Vegas has also reached it in the form of the Venetian Resort on...

  6. Chapter 2 Seven Libraries
    (pp. 20-37)

    The classic of Portuguese literature which celebrates Portuguese colonialism is Luís Vaz de Camões’ (1524–1580) The Lusiads (Os Lusíadas). It is both Renaissance and baroque. Discussed more fully in chapter 10, it is complete with Roman classical gods, who are partly allegorical, and it is also a history of Portugal and the Portuguese seaborne empire. Macao was colonised by the Portuguese from Goa in India, which itself had been colonised by 1510. (Goa has crucial examples of colonial baroque.)² Portuguese vessels sailed out from Goa to reach Chinese territory on their way to Japan where the Spanish St Francis...

  7. Chapter 3 Igreja e Seminário São José (St Joseph’s Seminary and Church)
    (pp. 38-59)

    Macao becomes a library of the baroque in St Joseph’s Seminary and Church, which is the main place visited in this chapter (there is also a discussion of Santo Agostinho). It was constructed from 1728 to 1758 for the Society of Jesus, who was expelled from Macao in 1762: the Seminary was then passed to the Lazarists (1784). São José is one of Macao’s most beautiful buildings, and because it has the advantage of being outside the places which tourists are encouraged to visit, it allows people to linger. The church’s upper part is visible on walking down the sloping...

  8. Chapter 4 Igreja de São Domingos (Church of St Dominic)
    (pp. 60-79)

    After São José, a different example of the baroque can be visited: the Igreja de São Domingos. This chapter approaches it from the Senado Square through a detour, to see how it relates to the city space that has produced it, and how it has created space around it. São Domingos stands in its own small square (largo) at the other end of the Senado Square, which itself has its miniature aspects. Many things in Macao seem like miniatures of European forms. Perhaps it is a peculiarity of colonial architecture and colonial space, to make things small and sometimes doll-like...

  9. Chapter 5 Ruínas de São Paulo (Ruins of St Paul’s)
    (pp. 80-97)

    The building discussed here is known worldwide, and is visited by every tourist to Macao. The Ruins of St Paul, on a hill twenty-six metres above sea level, must constitute one of the most famous baroque images: every tourist climbs up the steps to see them and is photographed against them. Macao promotional tourism features St Paul’s Ruins; they are Macao’s Eiffel Tower, its Sydney Opera House.

    São Paulo was built by the Jesuits in the first thirty or so years of the seventeenth century and burned down in 1835. It is now approached by six flights of eleven stairs...

  10. Chapter 6 Neo-Classicism
    (pp. 98-117)

    Portuguese colonisation has left traces everywhere in Macao, some of them Christian emblems, signs, which Chinese influences have made to resignify. A first example is the present classical church of Santo António, which has a Virgin and child in its entablature. It stands opposite the Camões Garden, which can be seen in the photograph, and replaces a church which was constructed in 1638, in place of another of 1560. It was burnt in 1809, rebuilt and burnt again in 1874 and repaired thereafter. The photograph shows in its entrance courtyard a cross of 1638, which once bore a crucified Christ....

  11. Chapter 7 Walling the City
    (pp. 118-135)

    Beginning from the A-Ma temple, the Portuguese built forts along the Praya Grande, the Inner Harbour, and on the hills of Macao. The photograph shows walls and a bastion, and looks up beyond the old Bela Vista hotel towards the Penha Hill, site of a fort, and to the Penha Church. The walls are now integrated into Macao’s nineteenth-and twentieth-century architecture. Exploration of them starts behind the ruins of St Paul’s College, with the hill, fifty-seven metres above sea level, which supports the Mount Fortress (Nossa Senhora do Monte: now housing the Museum of Macao). Early settlers in Macao lived...

  12. Chapter 8 Macao’s Chinese Architecture
    (pp. 136-157)

    Nature and culture stand in nice relation to each other in Macao. These two photographs of Coloane bring out their integration. In photograph 75, corrugated iron has been cut to keep the trees in place and growing upward: the shacks which are so roofed have been built in front of a Chinese house. In photograph 76, the Daoist temple, which looks towards the sea and towards seafarers to whom it offers protection, has been integrated with landscaped rock, which rises higher than the roof. The baroque also integrates nature and culture, and our examples will discuss this through Chinese architecture....

  13. Chapter 9 Colonialism and Modernity
    (pp. 158-179)

    The A-Ma temple was repeatedly painted by Western artists, for example by George Chinnery (1774–1852) and Auguste Borget (1808–1877).¹ A copy of a faded Borget representation appears adjacent to the mirror in the photograph, which shows the interior of the highest of the shrines which are set into the hillside. Chinnery, London-born and trained at the Royal Academy, painted scenes from four different colonial situations: the English in Ireland, where he lived from 1795 to 1802; the English in Calcutta, where he lived from 1802 until 1825; and Macao where he went after leaving India, and where he...

  14. Chapter 10 Camões and the Casa Garden
    (pp. 180-197)

    This chapter looks at four sites associated with Portuguese and later colonialisms. Three may be visited together: the Casa Garden, the Protestant cemetery and the Camões Garden; the fourth is on Coloane.

    The Casa Garden is part of a villa, built perhaps in 1770, and later belonging to a surgeon and insurer, Manuel Pereira, a leading name in Macao (another Pereria, a merchant, has his portrait hung in the Casa da Misericórdia). It was leased out to William Fitzhugh in the 1780s, and so to the British East India Company, and then to James Drummond. Here Lord Macartney stayed in...

  15. Chapter 11 Is Postmodern Macao’s Architecture Baroque?
    (pp. 198-223)

    Like photograph 88, photograph 109 plays with illusions that are already there, looking out onto reclaimed land from inside Macao Cultural Centre (1999, architect Bruno Soares), with stairs mirrored in the glass, surveying illusionistic floorlevels, which though flat appear to be bevelled, across to the rounded towers of the Sands Casino, the lower one being seen here. These towers have been compared with UFOs, or with rockets, or more suggestively, with syringes, sucking money out of the gamblers. Beyond Sands is Fisherman’s Wharf. Art and illusion are put against each other, except that art is also illusion. This reclaimed land...

  16. Chapter 12 Death in Macao
    (pp. 224-233)

    It is a question how much analysis of baroque Macao applies to the new city-space, much of which has been created out of reclaiming land, threatening to make Taipa and Coloane disappear as separate islands, as it has also profoundly changed the Praya Grande and bulldozed so many of Macao’s earlier buildings.

    Fisherman’s Wharf, copying America (San Francisco) in the name, is no wharf, though it is on a newly built waterfront. It opened at the end of 2005, for casinos, shops, restaurants and theme-parks. These include a series of pastiche sites of interest: a T’ang dynasty palace; a mock...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 234-248)
  18. Glossary of Terms
    (pp. 249-253)
  19. Index of Macao Places
    (pp. 254-255)
  20. General Index
    (pp. 256-262)