2600H x 4200W
CHILDREN'S AUDIO GUIDE:
There are about 1,500 Mazu temples in 26 countries around the world, with Macao’s A-Ma Temple being one of the most famous. Also known as the Maa Gok Temple or the “Pavilion of the Mother”, A-Ma Temple is one of the oldest.
The temple was built in 1488 during the Ming Dynasty to commemorate Mazu, the sacred sea goddess who blesses fishermen and sailors. Legend has it that when the Portuguese landed in Macao at the site of the temple during the mid-16th century, they asked the locals what the name of the land was and were told that it was “Maa Gok”, hence deriving the name “Macau”, the Portuguese name for the peninsula.
Like neighbouring Hong Kong, Macao has a history of seafaring. The goddess Mazu came from Fujian Province, and the Macanese adopted her as their own and, over time, a local version of her story was created. It was said that a young girl was looking for free passage from Fujian to Guangdong, but all the wealthy junk boat captains refused to take her. A young and poor fisherman, however, offered to take her and once they set off, a huge storm wrecked all the boats at sea apart from theirs. Her magical blessing brought the two of them to Macao safely, where she vanished. She later reappeared as a goddess and it is said she showed herself as divine at the spot where the A-Ma Temple now stands.
The various pavilions of A-Ma Temple were built at different times, with the Hall of Benevolence believed to be the earliest structure dating back to 1488 during the Ming Dynasty, and the rest completed by 1828. The Gate Pavilion is a granite structure, guarded by a pair of stone lions which are believed to stop evil from entering the complex. The variety of pavilions dedicated to the worship of different deities in a single complex makes A-Ma Temple an exemplary representation of Chinese culture inspired by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and multiple folk beliefs.