Classified Immovable Properties

    MM044-Night Watch House (Patane)

    Location: Macao

    Category: Monuments

    The night watch popular in ancient China served to report time and remind people to take precautions against fire and theft, with service charges paid collectively by merchants and residents. As one of the major ancient Chinese villages in Macao, the Patane village was equipped with gates and civil corps[1] to provide residents and merchants with time reporting services and security alarms at night. The oldest picture of the Patane Night Watch House extant is one of the Tou Tei Temple (Patane) and its forefront dating back to the 1940s. On the right of the temple stands the Patane Night Watch House, which, according to oral accounts[2], had been inhabited by a watchman and his family until the 1960s and has been used for other purposes since the 1970s with the fall of the night watch tradition. In 2010, preparatory efforts were made to build the Patane Night Watch House into a historical and cultural exhibition hall to showcase the development of the traditional night watch business that boasted unique characteristics. Upon its renovation and preparation in 2015, the Patane Night Watch House was officially opened to the public.

    The time-reporting service is a long-established tradition of the Chinese community that embodies the traditional folk values of mutual assistance and social service. As the only remaining night watch house in Macao, the Patane Night Watch House has witnessed the rise and fall of the night watch business and the transformation of the lifestyle of the Chinese community.

    According to oral accounts, the Patane Night Watch House is a traditional Cantonese residence that comprises single-storey compartments, a courtyard, a stone room and a water alley. The entire complex features a declining stair-like structure adapted to the surrounding environment. Together with the Tou Tei Temple (Patane) nearby, it forms a unique landscape at the foot of the Luís de Camões Garden and captures the original appearance of the ancient Patane village. The façade of the Patane Night Watch House is plastered with the two Chinese characters for “Night Watch House”. The interior walls are painted with several frescos with Lingnan characteristics to symbolise wealth and safety. The entire structure is typical of China’s traditional Cantonese residences.


    [1] Wong Man Tat, Anecdotes of Macao, Macao: EPH Macau, 2003, p. 146-147.

    [2] Interview with Mr. Chong Man in the Patane Night Watch House in 2014 on the topic of “the past and present of the Patane Night Watch House” by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao Special Administrative Region (unpublished).

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