Museum Treasure: The Holy Family

In a quiet bylane of Old Goa is The Museum of Christian Art. Perhaps the only one of its kind in Asia, the Museum showcases Indo-Portuguese art from the 16th to the 20th century.The Museum’s collection includes furniture, sculptures, ivory and metal artefacts, textiles, paintings and books from the 16th to the 20th century. On a visit to Goa last month, an afternoon spent at the Museum turned out to be the highlight of my entire trip.

The Museum’s collection is extremely well curated and presented. While it is difficult to choose a favourite among the ones I saw at the Museum, I had no hesitation in choosing one for today’s post on Christmas Eve.

“The Holy Family”, a 20th century set of ivory figurines mounted on wood, was donated to the Museum by the Albuquerques from Anjuna in Goa.

The Holy Family, Ivory, Jesus, Mary and Joseph
The Holy Family. Ivory and Wood. 2oth Century

While the 3 figures in the centre are very clearly Joseph, Mary and the child Jesus, I’m not sure who the two figures on the extreme right and left are. Maybe St. Anne and St. Joachim, Mary’s parents? I loved the delicate details of the figurines: the expression on both the women’s faces and drape of the robes, the look of wonder on Jesus’ face.

As always, whenever I see such exquisite works of art, I wonder who the artist was and what went through his/her mind while creating “The Holy Family”?

Dear reader, did you like these figurines as much as I did?

Wish you a very Happy Christmas πŸ™‚

The Museum Treasure Series is all about artifacts found in museums with an interesting history and story attached to them. You can read more from this series here.

11 thoughts on “Museum Treasure: The Holy Family

    1. This is only a glimpse, Anu. The Museum has far more treasures, each one more beautiful and more significant than the next. The Museum is a must visit and the next time you are in Goa, you must visit it.


  1. Lovely! I mean both the post and your long awaited return to blogging πŸ™‚ The figurines are indeed exquisite. This is a very unusual nativity scene, of one may call it that — but then it is not unusual to find such stuff on My Favourite Things, is it? πŸ˜€


    1. You are so encouraging, Alarmelvalli. What would I do without the encouragement of people like you ? Thank you so much πŸ™‚

      The Museum of Christian Art is beautiful and I have certainly not seen something like it. There are many more treasures to share and I will be doing so in the posts to come.


    1. All the artefacts in the Museum are lovely, RM. Do visit it the next time you are in Goa. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I had a quiet and peaceful Christmas and I hope you had a good one too. πŸ™‚


  2. Yes, the other two figures appear to me to be St. Anne and St. Joachim. The Holy Family comprise Joseph, Mary and Jesus. So, it is a pleasant surprise to see Mary’s parents along with the Holy Family. The artist may be trying to show the importance of not only love and prayer in a family but also love, respect, obedience and devotion to parents.
    This is a wonderful piece of art. Thank you Sudha for showing it to us.


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