The Ma Kok Temple, Macao

R.Von Decker (drawn)1860

Hong Kong Museum of Art

Hong Kong Museum of Art
Hong Kong , Hong Kong

The Ma Kok Temple is situated at the south end of Barra Hill in Macao, rising high on the side of the bank, facing the harbour of a fishing community. It is an ancient temple, built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), and is one of the best known landmarks in Macao. It is said that when the first group of Portuguese sailors landed on the bank in front of the temple, they asked local people the name of the island. The resident thought that they meant the name of the temple and so replied "Ma Kok", from which the Portuguese derived the name Macao for the peninsula.

The Ma Kok Temple was dedicated to the Goddess Tin Hau (Heavenly Queen), who was the patron saint of fishermen. The open ground outside this temple became a resting place for fishermen and also attracted a lot of pedlars who set up stalls to make a living. This made it a very lively and enjoyable place, particularly for Western artists. This picture, most probably drawn by the artist on board a boat anchored off-shore, shows a frontal view of the temple and activities in the surrounding area.


  • Title: The Ma Kok Temple, Macao
  • Creator: R.Von Decker (drawn)
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Date: 1860
  • Theme: Landscape
  • Physical Dimensions: w46.5 x h31.5 cm
  • Location in the artwork: Macao
  • Lithographed by: W. Korn & Co. (lithographed)
  • Type: Coloured lithograph

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