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    “Ingenious Woodwork - Macao Religious Figure Carving” Exhibition Opening

    17/06/2015

    “Ingenious Woodwork - Macao Religious Figure Carving”, an exhibition organised by the Macao Museum, under the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government, opened yesterday, 4th December, in the Macao Museum at 6:00pm in the presence of Zhang Xiaoguang, Head of the Culture and Education Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Macao S.A.R.; Heidi Ho, President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau; Tian Qing, Deputy Director of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Centre of the Arts Academy of China; Tsang Tak Hang, owner of the Tai Cheong Wood Engraving Co.; and Chan Ieng Hin, Director of the Macao Museum.

    In June 2008, “Macao Religious Figure Carving” was inscribed on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List, thus becoming Macao’s first independent application to receive such an honour. This hundred-year-old traditional handicraft has passed through various stages of development, reaching a rather advanced technical level and acquiring aesthetic characteristics of strong ethnic flavour and a high degree of refinement. From small and simple puppets to enormous Buddha statues, religious figure carving has preserved a local folk tradition, while also introducing non-local design and assemblage techniques, as well as innovative tools. This fusion of the old and the new has paved the way for the creation of high-quality internationally acknowledged gilded Buddha statues, such as the one displayed in Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery in Hong Kong, which weighs over ten tons.

    In order to protect this valuable traditional handicraft, the Museum established a task force to survey the status of religious figure carving in Macao, as well as draft, compile and submit the application for its listing as intangible cultural heritage in 2007, resulting in its inscription on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List by the State Council on 14th June 2008.

    The “Ingenious Woodwork - Macao Religious Figure Carving” Exhibition displays more than 80 exhibits, including carved figures from Buddhist, Taoist and Chinese folk beliefs. Carving tools, wood samples and historical data are also featured to enable a better understanding of the religious beliefs of the fishermen and people of Macao. The foregoing exhibits were all made in Macao; some reside in the Macao Museum, while others have been loaned by the Tai Cheong Wood Engraving Co., the Lin Fong Temple Charity Management and the Fishermen’s Mutual Help Association of Macao.

    The exhibition aims at disseminating the message of Intangible Cultural Heritage protection to as wide an audience as possible and it will be open to the public from 5th December 2008 to 5th April 2009. In addition, on 7th December, a workshop will be conducted by Mr. Tsang Tak Hang, an expert on the religious figures of Macao, in the Lecture Hall of the Macao Museum from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., to which all citizens are welcome. Admission tickets to the workshop are limited and as such will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. To register, please call Ms. Lee on (853) 8394-1231 during office hours or visit the website of the Cultural Affairs Bureau at www.icm.gov.mo or the website of the Macao Museum at www.macaumuseum.gov.mo.


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