segunda-feira, 7 de janeiro de 2019

"Macao, from the Forts of Heang-shan"

"Macao, from the Forts of Heang-shan" é o título de uma ilustração publicada no "The Chinese Empire Illustrated, Being a Series of Views from Original Sketches, Displaying the Scenery, Architecture, Social Habits... of that Ancient and Exclusive Nation...", editado em 1858 em 2 volumes em Londres.
O livro é da autoria de George Newenham Wright com ilustrações de Thomas Allom. O 'gravador' das imagem foi S. Fischer.
No 2º volume temos então esta imagem. A península de Macau está ao fundo destacando-se as fortificações ao estilo do ocidente bem como as inúmeras embarcações fundeadas. A imagem representa um funeral nos montes de Heang-Shan (província de Cantão contígua a Macau - os montes ficam depois da Porta do Cerco) mas anterior a 1858...

A ilustração original data de 1842, da autoria de Auguste Borget (1808-1877), e foi incluída no livro "Sketches of China and the Chinese" (imagem abaixo).

Um ano depois, em 1843, a mesma ilustração surge também no livro "China, in a Series of Views, Displaying the Scenery, Architecture ..., Volume 2", de G. N. W. e Thomas Allom. Thomas inspirou-se nos originais de Borget e voltou a desenhá-los...

Macao from the forts of Heang-shan. Auguste Borget.
"Sketches of China and the Chinese". 1842

O livro inclui um pequeno texto sobre Macau que aqui transcrevo e que começa com um poema de Byron.

"A landmark to the double tide 
That purpling rolls on either side 
As if their waters chafed to meet 
Yet pause and crouch beneath her feet." 

Macao occupies a position rather of beauty than strength for the rocky summits that surround its peninsular site also command it and the waters that lave its winding base are navigable by vessels of considerable burden. 
Its political circumstances have always presented an historic anomaly Portuguese adventurers having long wandered in the Eastern seas made occasional descents upon the Chinese coast and by bribery barter and sometimes brutality established a species of recognition.
About the year 1587 at all events subsequently to the death of St Francis Xavier at Shan shan the Portuguese obtained permission to settle at Macao not as an independent community but in conjunction with the native population and during their good behaviour or the emperor's pleasure. For this commercial residence they probably consented at first to pay a large remuneration their expectations of prosperity being proportionately high but their illiberality in endeavouring to secure for themselves and the Spaniards a monopoly of Chinese trade operated so ruinously to their speculation that the emperor is now content to receive from them the miserable ground rent of 150 sterling per annum.
The city stands upon a peninsula three miles in length by one in breadth one side of which is curved into a beautiful bay the opposite being somewhat convex towards the sea the ridge of this rocky eminence as well as its sloping sides being covered with churches and convents and turrets and tall houses such as are seen in Europe.
A narrow sandy isthmus joins the peninsula to the heights of Heang shan which are crowned with forts to awe the humbled settlers and an embattled wall after the jealous fashion of the Chinese crosses the isthmus and forms an entire separation between the Christians and idolaters It is said that this barrier was first erected to check the incursions of Romish priests who were much addicted to the practice of Chinese children from a desire to convert them to a saving faith. The end was laudable but not the means. The rigidity with which the Portuguese are ruled and the well known character of the Chinese as separatists would rather induce a that the charge of kidnapping was a forgery invented as a pretext for building up rampart.
A presiding mandarin Tso tang constantly resides in Macao and evidence of the slight nature of Portuguese tenure there by occasionally stopping supply of provisions intended for the Christians by enforcing strictly the conditions their occupancy such as prohibiting the erection of new houses or repairs of old ones and by inspecting the Portuguese forts to see that no additional strength has given to them nor any increase made to the garrison of four hundred men a license for which a stipend is expected none of these conditions may be with impunity nor can the Portuguese accomplish such objects secretly all employments being exercised exclusively by Chinese residents.
The Portuguese executive at Macao consists of a military governor a judge a bishop each of whom enjoys a salary of 600 per annum a sum considerable indeed when the insignificance of their services is remembered.
The Chinese portion of population about thirty thousand souls is subject to native authorities solely the European including Portuguese by birth Mesticos also Portuguese but descended Malay mothers and foreigners of all classes in all not more than four thousand under the nominal rule of the Portuguese governor. This power however often too weak to compete with the lords of the soil who occasionally order all foreigners withdraw upon a few hours notice under pain of confiscation of property and loss liberty thereby restricting trade the only occupation which Christian settlers here so frequently and so much that the temples of Macao are without worshippers the dwellings untenanted the harbour almost forsaken. 

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