Chinese School 
Macao, View of the Praya Grande
⚈ Sold
Chinese (1775-1900)

Oil on Canvas Circa 1840
17 ¼ x 30 ½ Inches 24 ¾ x 37 ½ Inches Framed
 
   

Chinese School 
 
Chinese (1775-1900)
 
Macao, View of the Praya Grande
⚈ Sold

Oil on Canvas Circa 1840
17 ¼ x 30 ½ Inches 24 ¾ x 37 ½ Inches Framed
 
   

The oldest European buildings in China are along the once curved crescent shore of the Praya Grande, where the Portuguese explorers established and fortified their trading foothold with an entire continent. When they arrived in 1553, the small fishing village overlooked by a temple of an ocean goddess immediately became an important cultural center of the world, with the initial interactions between the East and West. Ever since, this port loaded with temples and churches has played a role in the cosmopolitan course of world trade. (The harbor is extensively filled in and built upon today.)

Even in this view, nearly 300 years after western ships first sailed in the harbor, an early event occurs with the presence of an American schooner reaching safe haven in the first decades of their “China Trade”, after the Dutch and English have established contacts. The artist’s perspective, looking south slightly north of Praya Grande’s center, brings Praha Hill in view at left, with the church on top much as it is today. By 1850, the earthen harbor embankment had taken more substantial shape with an inlaid stone walkway serving the increasing number of travelers. Of the small number of western citizens residing in China, many spent their summers in Macao.

As a natural harbor and a point of first contact, many sailors were required to remain at Macao, while some ships would anchor and others would push on to Whampoa. Only the merchants and captains directly involved in the negotiations of buying and selling were allowed access up the river beyond Whampoa to Canton. Travel would be via local craft only. From the Chinese artists who produced port and ship paintings directly for their nautical visitors, paintings of Macao are substantially rarer than other views.