How on earth have I missed this stunning museum on previous trips to Goa?

This little gem of a collection has been on the scene for 30 years, so it is absolutely baffling that I hadn’t even heard of it until recently,

But having been there today – on Ash Wednesday, symbolically enough – I want to share my thoughts (& photos) with you, to make sure you all know about the Museum of Christian Art, and include it on your next visit to Goa.

This truly is not to be missed.

Housed in the charming Convent of Santa Monica, this collection is beautifully curated, and explains the artistic links between the early European Christians and the Indian craftsmen who made their statues and vestments.

For example, the early priestly vestments bear evidence of Indian “zardozi” work:

”When the Portuguese arrived in Goa in the early 16th century, they recognised the superior skills of local textile workers and introduced them to Western imagery…the style of embroidery applied by local artisans included Indian elements such as gold thread embroidery known as zardozi, floral motifs with Mughal influences and ivory work on textiles…”

(From the Museum’s information panel)

I’m now going to let the exhibits speak for themselves:

Above – a gorgeous early 17th century wood & polychrome panel of St. Ursula

The photo doesn’t do justice to this stunning 17th century painting (above) in an equally stunning silver and enamel frame.

I love this 18th century statue of the Infant Jesus Saviour of the World (above) not only for the embroidered baby clothes but especially for the realistic face.

I have a special weakness for St.Anne (Anne is my middle name) so this statue of St. Anne with a young Mary appealed.

There is a gallery giving an overview over the museum.

Fascinatingly, centuries ago, this would have been the view of the church and mass seen by nuns, who lived in an enclosed order, and the balcony provided them with a protected view.

There is a wee little shop selling books and museum-themed merchandise:

Entrance to the museum is Rs100, the staff are charming and attentive, and my only regret is that the charming looking cafe was closed today.

I guess you’ve worked out by now that I am a fan of the Museum of Christian Art – do go visit!

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