Friday, February 13, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
This time, I have the final piece for you. Below is the map of Macau that I made for the Wall Street Journal Asia, but have been unable to show until it was published this past Friday. You can see it and the full original on the WSJA website here, as an interactive graphic, and the original travel guide text by Jennifer Welker is pasted in below.
Making this, I learned its challenging to get so much information across in such a small space. Their News Graphics Director found me though my online portfolio and said she thought my style would fit her needs. She also asked me to make something with an oblique shape, around which the layout would be designed. The rest, she said, was up to me.
To make the piece, I started with the icons. Macau is a city that brings together Western and Eastern religions in one place where these cultures lived together. Portuguese Catholics, Chinese Buddhists, and converted Japanese immigrants made for a wide mix of faiths, and therefore churches and their architecture. So I began drawing my own "caricatures" (if you can say that for a building) of many of these churches and temples. These individual drawings of Macau's notable buildings began to come together, and eventually I had too many and even had to cut some.
Other choices included the extra icons of the refreshing beer and the street side painter. These are both sights/experiences that are mentioned in WSJA's article in that general area of the map. I'm happy with the torn cloth shape as a background. I'm working on integrating textures into my images digitally and having them all look natural with my drawings.
The WSJA was really easy to work with and I certainly hope this is the first of many pieces I'll be making for them.
JANUARY 30, 2009
This Former Portuguese Colony Is a Treasure Trove of Religious Sites
By Jennifer Welker
Centuries ago in Macau, people of different faiths -- Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants and Taoists -- built their own unique places of worship within walking distance of one another. Back then, the peninsula measured a mere 2.7 square kilometers. Today, a different kind of construction boom has taken over, and the peninsula is now a "sprawling" 8.9 square kilometers.
As flashy new casinos and splashy resorts nudge their way into the city, these spiritual monuments -- most of which are located in the historic center of Macau, a Unesco World Heritage site -- are evidence of the rich diversity in religious beliefs in this Chinese port city. And they provide a sense of this former Portuguese colony's historic past as you stroll along the colorfully tiled or cobblestoned paths.
Try this walk on a weekday -- preferably Tuesday to Friday -- when there are fewer people and all the sites are open. On weekends, particularly in the afternoons, the crowds can get thick. (Visitors can check on daily opening hours for all churches in Macau by calling the Cultural Affairs office at 853-8399-6699.)
9 a.m. Senado Square
Start your walk at Señado Square along Almeida Ribeiro Avenue (Sun Ma Lo in Chinese). Here coffee houses, restaurants and shops converge on the pedestrian-friendly square with distinct, black-and-white stone tiles designed to look like waves, a reminder of Portuguese adventures at sea centuries ago.
Walk along Senado Square past the Holy House of Mercy on your right and a Starbucks on your left. Turn right into a small lane called Travessa de S. Domingos. As you make your way up this lane, you will find Ou Mun Café (Ou Mun means "Macau" in Chinese) on your right. Locals like to gather here in the mornings before work or for leisurely afternoon conversations with friends (closed Mondays). Enjoy a Portuguese espresso here before you begin your journey.
9:30 a.m. The Holy House of Mercy
Retrace your steps to the Holy House of Mercy (Santa Casa de Misericórdia), the white, neoclassical building beside the gray post office. Walk up Travessa da Misericórdia, a beautiful little lane of potted plants that leads to a bust of Dom Belchior Carneiro, Macau's first Catholic bishop and founder of Holy House of Mercy, a charity established in 1569. For centuries, this aid organization played a vital role in helping widows and orphans of navigators and missionaries who perished at sea. The museum within the Holy House of Mercy exhibits historical and religious objects.
From here, return to Travessa de S. Domingos and walk up the lane toward the Cathedral, which boasts two towers and massive doors. It was originally known as Our Lady of Hope of St. Lazarus; today it is known simply as the Cathedral.
Head up the hill until you reach the square, Largo da Sé, which has a fountain. With the square behind you, straight ahead is the Paço Episcopal Bishop's House and at your right is the Cathedral.
The first stone church, consecrated in 1850, was destroyed in a typhoon 24 years later and reconstructed. The Midnight Mass at Christmas and a procession from St. Augustine's Church each February or March are important occasions for the Cathedral. The Bishop's House next door is the administrative seat of the Catholic Church in Macau.
10:30 a.m. St. Dominic's Church
From the Cathedral, turn left and walk down Travessa da Sé, a narrow, downhill lane that will lead you to St. Dominic's Church.
Take note of the Lou Kau mansion, open to the public, on your right. This 1889 two-story home with oyster-shell windows once belonged to a wealthy Macau businessman and has been recently restored. It is a traditional Chinese home, with two courtyards and three separate main halls.
Returning to the religious trail, back on Travessa da Sé, walk to the end of the lane until you reach Rua de S. Domingos, where you will turn left. Walk toward the bright yellow St. Dominic's Church (it has green shutters). Founded in the early 1600s by three Spanish Dominican priests from Acapulco, it is part of the Unesco heritage site. In 1644, a military man who pledged allegiance to the Spanish king was murdered at the baroque altar because he acted in defiance of Macau's decision to remain loyal to Portugal's Dom John IV. The present-day St. Dominic's Church is peacefully packed with people at Sunday Mass. A museum was added to the belfry of the church, which has a collection of some 300 religious relics (open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily).
Step out of St. Dominic's, turn left on Largo de S. Domingos and turn left at the Body Shop store onto Rua da Palha. This road winds its way up to St. Paul's ruins. To your right and left you will encounter row after row of Macanese food specialties for sale, including fresh warm biscuits and sweet slices of dried pork. Antique lovers will enjoy the Chinese furniture shops here. On weekends, though, you can barely move, as throngs of tourists crowd the hill along the way to the Ruins of St. Paul's.
11:30 a.m. The Ruins of St. Paul's
Protected by Unesco, the Ruins of St. Paul's include the facade of the old Church of Mater Dei (Mother of God), which was constructed in 1602 by craftsmen from Japan. Many Japanese Christians sought refuge in Macau in the early 1600s from religious persecution at home. This helps to explain much of the East-West decoration of this so-called "sermon in stone," which features engravings of Western biblical symbols, Chinese characters and distinctly Asian decorations that reflect the interchange of cultures through the Jesuits.
Although St. Paul's burned down in a disastrous kitchen fire in 1835, its solitary baroque facade still stands atop a flight of stairs, one of Macau's most prominent landmarks. This area -- from the top of the stairs to Mount Fortress, which successfully helped to ward off the invading Dutch in 1622 -- was built as an "Acropolis of Macau" by the Jesuit community to further their missionary work in Asia.
At the top of the staircase, face the facade and look to your left to find the small yet significant Na Tcha (the god of the neighborhood) Temple, built in 1888. It doesn't look at all out of place, and instead serves as testament to the Eastern and Western faiths that coexist in Macau. In front sits a large urn -- full of incense -- that bears the characters "St. Paul's" in Chinese. (The temple is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.)
12 p.m. Corner's Wine Bar and Tapas
Around the corner from the Ruins of St. Paul's is the aptly named Corner's Wine Bar and Tapas cafe. Sit indoors or walk upstairs to the rooftop bar where you can gaze out at the facade of St. Paul's, enjoy refreshing drinks, have lunch, and listen to great music.
1:30 p.m. St. Anthony's Catholic Church
Make your way back down the hill and turn left on Rua de D. Belchior Carneiro (directly behind the Ruins of St. Paul's), which leads to St. Anthony's Catholic Church. Pass a school on your left and an elderly persons' home on your right. Walk down a flight of stairs into the residential courtyard of Edificio San Wan (not to worry, you are on the right track) out onto a square. To the right is St. Anthony's.
Founded in the 1560s in honor of the seafarer's favorite saint, St. Anthony's was first built of bamboo and wood planks and is one of the three oldest churches in Macau. Sadly, it has suffered a number of setbacks. An inscription on the wall of the neoclassical-style church reads, "Built in 1608. Burnt in 1809. Rebuilt in 1809. Burnt again in 1874. Repaired in 1875." St. Anthony is also honored as the saint of marriage, and fittingly, many wedding ceremonies are held here (open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily).
As you exit St. Anthony's, turn right, walk around the back of the church and turn left onto Praca de Luis de Camões. Cross the street and you will see the Camões Gardens where locals come to practice tai chi, walk or just chitchat.
The gardens were originally part of property where the chairman of the British East India Co. lived. Once the British left Macau, it was taken over by a local Portuguese merchant who made it his residence. Later, it was donated to the government and opened to the public as a memorial to the great Portuguese poet Luis de Camões.
To the right of the gardens is a small, obscure entrance to the Morrison Chapel and Protestant Cemetery (open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily). This small Protestant chapel, with just 12 pews, black-and-white photos on its walls and swirling fans on the ceiling above, was founded by the British in the early 1800s. Its cemetery sat on property owned by the British East India Co. and renowned British artist George Chinnery is buried here alongside other prominent figures of that time including missionary Robert Morrison, for whom the chapel is named. Morrison translated the Bible into Chinese and compiled the first Chinese-English dictionary.
After you have recharged, walk toward the main road of Almeida Ribeiro Avenue. Before you reach it, turn right into an alleyway -- Rua Sul do Mercado de S. Domingos -- lined with colorful local stalls selling fruit, roasted chestnuts and clothing.
On your right is a wet market; on your left, the unassuming Buddhist temple Kuan Tai (also known as Sam Kau Vui Kun), devoted to the god of war and riches. Located in a neighborhood near Senado Square that was the center of Chinese trade, this temple was used as a meeting place for merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, it is just a temple. Walk inside and you will find a humble red and gold interior with bronze statues, burning incense and a few friendly people.
From here, retrace your steps to Senado Square. Turn right and walk across the main road of Almeida Ribeiro Avenue. As you stand in front of Leal Senado (the former Senate building of Macau), turn right and then make a quick left around the corner onto Calcada do Tronco Velho. Walk up a rather short but steep hill.
At the top, on your left is St. Augustine's Church, founded in 1591 by Spanish Augustinians. Inside is a statue of Christ carrying the cross, the centerpiece of the annual procession to the Cathedral. Attended by thousands, it takes place on the first Sunday of Lent. St. Augustine's was the first church in Macau to hold English Mass and is open for visitors everyday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
3:30 p.m. St. Lawrence's Church
From here, walk down Calcada do Teatro and turn right onto Rua de São Lourenço. Follow the signs directing you toward St. Lawrence's Church. As you make your way, you will see the bright pink Macau Government House on your left at the bottom of the hill. Up ahead on your right, at the corner of Rua da Imprensa Nacional and Rua de São Lourenço, sits one of Macau's most beautiful churches, St. Lawrence's.
Built by the Jesuits in the 1560s, it is also one of the oldest churches. The families of Portuguese sailors used to congregate here and pray for their safe return from the sea. Recently restored and painted cream and white, it stands amid a garden of palm trees and boasts two towers, one of which was formerly an ecclesiastic prison, and a Chinese tile roof. (The church is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.)
—Jennifer Welker is a writer based in Macau.