Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt
Located at the bottom end of the inner area of the Ruins of St. Paul's is the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt. It was built where the old College of the Mother of God and Church of St. Paul were previously located.
The Museum of Sacred Art, together with the Crypt, is reminiscent of the rich and vivid history of the missions in this region of China, whose main source was precisely the College of St. Paul.
The Museum of Sacred Art isn't the conventional museum where the entrance is very evident from afar. Do not be deceived by the lack of structure and the abundance of open space behind the Ruins of St. Paul because to reach the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt, you have to go down a flight of stairs.
If you're at the Ruins of St. Paul (which is the testament of Macau travel) or at the Museum of Macau, don't forget to drop by the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt. The entrance is free so you have nothing to lose.
Once you go down the flight of stairs, you can choose to go to either the Museum of Sacred Art or the Crypt. It's just a matter of choosing which one to go to first. To the right is the Museum of Sacred Art and to the left is the Crypt.
The Crypt was built in the location of the ancient church, the Church of St. Paul, which was destroyed in 1835 by a big fire.
The bones of ancient Japanese and Vietnamese martyrs are displayed on the side walls of the Crypt inside glass cases. This is to commemorate the bravery of these Japanese and Vietnamese martyrs.
Outside the Crypt, a list can be found which lists the name of the martyrs. The whole area of the Crypt is very solemn and quiet. For some, the silence is eerie and sometimes even creepy, especially with all the remains of the dead martyrs.
However, for others, the atmosphere inside the Crypt is an invitation to meditation and it evokes the first centuries of the missions of China and Japan.
Also, the stones on which the first building was erected and an initial grave have both been left uncovered and they take up most of the area inside the Crypt.
A cross and a tabernacle have been placed on the stones to symbolize the sacredness and solemnity of the area.
The Museum of Sacred Art, which is just next to the Crypt, includes objects of very high historical and artistic value.
Items and religious artifacts located inside the Museum of Sacred Art date back to the 16th and 19th centuries.
Some objects that can be found inside the Museum are oil paintings, figurines, and life-size replicas of different religious objects.
The beautiful collection of Sino-Portuguese crucifixes made of ivory, wood, and silver is worth mentioning.
There is also a large number of liturgical vessels in silver such as chalices, incense boats, patens, pyxes, reliquaries, etc.
The religious statues and the sacred paintings which can be found on the sides are also of great interest. Many of them are also in Indo-Portuguese style.
The painting of St. Michael Archangel from the 17th century is one of the most special pieces in the Museum of Sacred Art.
It was painted by a Japanese disciple of the Jesuit Giovanni Nicollo according to western techniques and models.
This painting is very important and noteworthy not only because of its antiquity and imposing figure over the whole Museum of Sacred Art but also because of the fact that it is the only work of the ancient college that survived the fire that devastated the college and the church.
After going to the Ruins of St. Paul and taking tourist pictures inside the Museum of Macau and around the Monte Fort, the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt is a good place to meditate, and to take a little time to remember the people who sacrificed their life to make Macau what it is today.
The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt doesn't only commemorate the Jesuit spirituality, Christianity, or Macau. It also, and more importantly, recognizes the sacrifices that were made by all these people.
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