This book, Monograph of Macao is the first Monograph book which wholly studied Macao. Written by Yin Guangren and Zhang Rulin, this book made a wholly description of the geography, environment, history, polity and sociality in Macao, and relation between China and other countries, such as Portugal, England, Japan and Indian. It was the only one chorography that specially studied Macao among hundreds and thousands of Chinese chorographic books, so the contents in this book were rare.
The background of this book
This book was written in the sixteenth year of Qian Long Emperor (1751) and then published. When it was written, Macao had become a very important trade port, base of the West missionaries, and center of the communication between China and the West after about 200 years from the year when Portuguese stayed in Macao. It was also a very important base of Portuguese expansion in the Far East and international trade.
During these 200 years from c.1553-1751, Chinese people began to know some information of the foreigner’s languages, customs, cultural and technology through exchange with the West along the southwest coast. The missionaries, such as Matteo Ricci（1552-1610）, Giulio Aleni（1582-1649）, Johann Adam Schall von Bell（1591-1666）went to China to preach. They brought and translated many western books, some of which were advanced technology and global geography books. These books broadened some scholar-officials’ views and inspired some new thoughts to them. Then some scholars also began to write geography books including other countries.
On the other hand, the Qing government also realized that maybe it was a threat to them for letting Portuguese stay in Macao, so they began to try to confine and control Portuguese and other foreigners.
The two officials, Yin Guangren and Zhang Rulin both were smart lowclass officials who had some, though not much knowledge of foreigners. In order to prevent foreigners’ attack they wrote the Monograph of Macao.
The name of Portuguese and Portugal
In that time, all foreigners were called fan (蕃), and the xi-fan（西蕃）meant people came from eastern countries, especially from Europe. Portuguese always were called fo-lang-ji (Franks, 佛郎机). However, in that time most Chinese people did not know what was the difference between Portuguese and other countries’ people, such as Italian, Spanish, and French, so they always made mistake when they mentioned foreigners. For example, they would mistake Italian for Portuguese maybe because Matteo Ricci and other missionaries most came from Italy and stayed Macao as their base, Chinese people thought that all them came from Italy.
Most Portuguese in Macao were Catholic. There were eight Churches in Macao: St. Paul Church, lgreja de São Francisco, Cathedral, St. Dominic Church, St. Augustine Church, St. Lawrence Church, Holy house of Mercy and St. Anthong Church. There were other two temples: St. Lazarus Church and convent. Only young girl under ten years old could be accepted by the convent, and after they became nun they were not allowed to get out the convent, and even their parents could not enter the convent to visit them. If someone wanted to become a nun, their family had to donate lots of money, so there were not many nuns in the convent, only about 40.
Missionaries in different Church wore different cloth. Some people wore white cloth, and some wore cyan cloth, and some wore flax cloth; some wore hat but some not; some cut hair but some not. When the governor of Macau and other leaders could not settle some important things, they would invite the bishop to make a decision. When the bishop came out, there would be many people following him to serve him, and all the believers would kneel down and touch his feet.
Because of missionaries’ hard work many Chinese people converted to Catholic, which led the Chinese government’s notice and worries, so some of them suggested the Emperor to close Seminary of Santo Amparo (Tang-ren-miao, Chinese temple) .
Political and law
It was said by the authors that there were two kings in the Portuguese government in Macau, which were jiaohua-wang（教化王, the bishop of Macau）and zhishi-wang（治世王, the governor of Macau）. The bishop of Macau managed the religious affairs and the governor of Macau took control of trade and civilian affairs. The governor of Macau, who was called bing-tou (兵头) in Chinese, was under the control of the governor of Goa and carried out his order. The governor of Macau, which changed every three year, took control of 150 soldiers who guarded every cannon fort and St. Paul Church. The nobility often rode sedan chair, which was like a cabinet, and men would went into it from the above door but women would went into it from the side door of the sedan.
When some people committed a serious crime, the governor of Macau would convene other leaders, and the bishop of Macau sometimes to make a judgment on the criminal. Of course, if a leader was not worth his salt, he would also be punished. The Ouvidor, who was appointed by the governor of Goa, dealt with common small affairs. The criminals who committed serious crime would be hanged on a high bamboo and sent into sea by cannon. Some criminals were taken to St. Paul Church to confess kneeing down on the God figure. There were lishi-guan (理事官) who took care of the civilian affairs, and ku-guan (库官) who usually was a rich nobility and took care of the taxes on the boats , army finance, and repair of city streets, and two secretaries who were Chinese. The governor, bishop and Ouvidor of Macau got different salary of 1,000-2,000. There were some policemen, who always took red stick in their hands so were called honggun-guan (红棍官，red stick officials), and they were classed into three different classes: the biggest, the second and the smallest.
Economy, family and life
Portuguese made a living by trade, especially the oversea trade. Those rich bosses did not have to go out to deal with trade affairs but just stayed home getting profits. Those poor guys had to be as a soldier or seaman. Some women made a living by embroidering and selling candy conjee. At the begging they got a lot of profits from trading, but unfortunately they got less and less profit because other countries’ competition and their lack of boats, so they became poor.
The Portuguese children in Macau could speak Chinese language after their long stay. In one poem, it was said that women played more important role in the family life, and most of the housework was done by women who inherited the inheritage. Their marriage was free and if they both loved each other and wanted to get marriage, they would go to church, such as St. Lawrence Church, St. Paul Church and St. Anthong Church to make a wedding. A Man who wanted to marry to a woman had to go to the woman’s home to live and he had to be loyal to his wife. If he was not loyal to his wife, he would be sentenced to death, or be punished seriously. Their funeral was simple and did not spent lots of money and energy on it.
Portuguese were white, and had Roman nose, and their eyes were green. Most men did not have long beard and hair. The black slaves were black through their body excepted for their red lip and white teeth. It was said that the black slaves were very good at diving and they could not sink when they were swimming.
Many men wore triangle hats which were decorated with flowers. There were many different styles of clothes and most of them were dainty. The black people, both men and women, wore common cloth and did not wear hats and shoes. Every people wore falchion, the end of which always touched the ground.
Most of the houses they lived in were storied and had many different styles, such as square, round, triangle, hexangular, and octagonal. The rampart of Macao had began to established from Ming dynasty and it was very solid in that time. There was a big door: St. Paul Church door (sanba-men, 三巴门), a small door: small St. Paul Church door (xiao-sanba-men, 小三巴门), shalitou-men (沙梨头门) and St. Anthong Church door. There were six cannon forts and 46 copper cannons and 30 iron cannons. Portuguese imitated Spanish to make their own cannons, which were more powerful. They planted many flowers and trees in the island the bred poultry. More important is that their calendar was very precise and was applied by the Qing government.
We can get lots of information of Portuguese in Macao in this important book, such as their religious, political and law, economy, family and life, etc. Though some information was wrong and absurd, the authors gave us a whole representation of Portuguese in Macau, so it is still a useful material for us to study Macao history.
Yin Guangren and Zhang Rulin, Monography of Macao, Macao: Cultural Institute of Macao, 1992.
Yin Guangren and Zhang Rulin, Monography of Macao, (Macao: Cultural Institute of Macao, 1992).
However, the exact time is not known for us.
Monography of Macao, p. 2.
Monography of Macao, p. 22, pp. 122,-124 and p. 126.
Ibid. p. 22.
Ibid. p. 26.
Ibid. p. 150.
Ibid. pp. 151-152.
Ibid. pp. 81-84.
Ibid. p. 156.
Ibid. p. 152.
Ibid. p. 89.
Ibid. p. 152.
Ibid. p. 154.
Ibid. p. 141.
Ibid. p. 155.
Ibid. p. 143.
Ibid. p. 145.
Ibid. p. 27.
Ibid. p. 181.
by Ma Guang