The museum has been functioning since 1964 in the abandoned
convent of St.
Francis of Assisi and is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of
India (ASI). The collection consists of Brahmanical sculptures hero-stones
and sati stones of the early and late medieval periods, portraits, coins
and currency, revenue and court fee stamps, wooden and bronze sculptures
and armoury of the Portuguese period.
Rejuvenating The Look
The Museum was rearranged and reorganised completely in connection with the CHOGM Retreat in Goa during 1982. A long hall lying to the left side of the entrance to the Museum was converted into 2 galleries by laying RCC floor with a newly constructed wide staircase at the extreme west to facilitate access to the first floor.
The new Annexe building thus provided additional area to the existing Museum and finally the entire first floor re-laid with a teakwood floor resembling the original in order to bring uniform look to the whole complex.
The 3-6m high bronze statue of Afonso de Albuquerque greets the visitors at the entrance. In the visitors lobby sea routes of early explorers, map showing site museums in India, map of Goa and a few photographs of monuments of Goa and Daman , and map showing centrally protected monuments in India are on display.
The Key Gallery
The key gallery in the ground floor serves as an introduction to the nature of exhibits in the museum. As one enters the key gallery the visitor is introduced to the short history of Goa in the form of an open book placed on a pedestal. The plan of the museum is on the left sidewall. Taking right turn one comes across a wall showcase containing middle and upper Paleolithic stone tools, Microliths and a few Neolithic Celts. A short historical background highlighting the prehistory of Goa and the location of prehistoric sites is shown in the map of Goa.
The second showcase deals with the early history of Goa. The excavated materials from Chandor, one of the ancient capital cities of goa are displayed in this showcase along with the ground plan of a Brahmanical temple and available early historical antiquities i.e., cast copper coins of 3rd century BC, copper nails, rings, etc.
The next phases of cultural sequence are shown with the help of available sculptures of the Brahmanical deities and displayed in chronological order with the bust of siva and parvati, followed by the sculptures of the Silaharas and Kadambas of Goa.
Displaying Some Priceless Possessions
The important exhibits on display in this Gallery are the standing Lord Vishnu accompanied by Goddess Lakshmi and Garuda on left and right respectively, with exquisite carvings accommodating ten incarnations on the Prabhavali, standing Surya accompanied by Danda and Pingala, Gajalakshmi, Mahishasuramardini and seated Uma-Maheshvara.
The Stone Figurines & Sculptures
Other objects on displays are lintel of a temple depicting various types of Shikharas, architectural pieces, sati-stones, hero-stones, an inscribed slab containing Kannada inscription of 'Devaraya', the Vijayanagar king, recording the grant of a Jaina Basti, Arabic and Portuguese inscriptions, wooden statue of John, the Baptist, paintings on wood / canvas of Portuguese Governors Pedro de Castro, Fernando Martings Mascarenhas, nativity of Jesus, Jesus helping St. Joseph, etc. royal coat of arms, Bishop coat of arms on stone, wooden sculptures of infant Jesus, St. Mary sculptured panels representing floral decorations, Goan type basket - full of fruits and the tombstone of D. Diogo de Noronha, the first captain of Daman.
The hero-stones forming part of this gallery are rather unique in representing naval battles emphasizing the maritime power of the Kadambas. One hero-stone shows a royal personage sitting on a throne in his palace with numerous attendants and his queen. The bottom panel shows him engaged in a ferocious naval battle wherein are shown the ships and the soldiers.
Besides, a few stone and wooden sculptures of Brahmanical Gods and Goddesses and Christian Saints are also exhibited in a showcase in the centre of the big hall. This showcase also separates material of the early historical phase from the Portuguese period. The eastern half of this showcase is used for displaying Hindu gods and goddesses. The metal bust of Gangadhara (popularly known in Goa as Manguesh) of the 17th - 18th century and a few minor stone sculptures of Khandoba, Kartikeya, hero, Usha or 'Makara', etc., are arranged to highlight the rich heritage of Goa under the Hindu rulers.
The Portuguese Artifacts
In the western half are displayed the wood and ivory objects of Christian saints, Jesus Christ, Mary with Jesus' body, Bishops, Mary Immaculate, St. Anthony, St. Anne and Jesus, St. Augustine, Mary and a Kaoline Surahi (wide pot). This art nourished and nurtured under the patronage of the Portuguese rulers of Goa.
The main attraction in this key gallery is the imposing 3m high bronze statue of Luiz de Camoes the national poet of Portugal. The one-eyed poet holds in his right hand the scrolls of his poem, the LUSIADS, which describes the voyage of Vasco-Da-Gama from Portugal to India and back. This statue originally brought from Portugal to India and back and was originally installed in the centre of the garden in 1960 but was damaged in 1982.
THE GALLERY SHOWCASE
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Galleries
Gallery 2,3,4 and 5 are located in the quadrangle in the ground floor. In Gallery 2 are displayed models of various types of Shikharas, replica of pillar, architectural pieces, a Shiva-Linga and a 'Nandi'.
In Gallery 3 are displayed seated Ganesa, Mahishasuramardini, standing Vishnu with Garuda, Vetala, seated Uma-Maheshvara with Kartikeya, Bhringi and Ganesha on the pedestal, Hanumana, Kala Bhairava, Indrani and torso of a Hindu saint. In the showcase minor objects i.e., the head of Brahma, head of Nandi Kula Devata and architectural pieces are on display. In the adjoining room are displayed model of a 16th century Portuguese ship and iron anchors.
In Gallery 4 are displayed medieval hero-stones, sati-stones, a Shiva-Linga and a panel depicting self-immolation. The sati stones displayed along side the hero-stones, commemorate 'Sati' or widow burning and have panels showing the heroes in battle, thus serving both as hero and 'Sati' stones. In Gallery 5 are inscribed slabs in Marathi, Arabic/Persian pertaining to Ibrahim 'Adil Shah and other 'Adil Shahi kings of Bijapur of 16th-17th century.
The Marathi inscriptions record grants to Hindu temples, while the Arabic/Persian inscriptions record the construction of a Masjid (Mosque) and a bastion to the fort at Old Goa. A huge stone panel on the other side of the verandah depicts a coat of arms in the centre and St. Peter and St. Paul proclaiming the gospel and a Portuguese inscription on either side.
In the niche of the wall is a stone pillar brought from Santhome, Madras in AD 1630. A piece of the iron of the lance with which the St. Thomas, the apostle, was supposed to have been killed was preserved in a small niche at the top of the pillar. The two sides of the pillar are painted with the figures of St. Thomas and St. Francis of Assisi.
In the centre of the open courtyard, life-size image of St. Catherine is displayed under a Goan type pillared shed. The courtyard has been improved by laying lawns and laterite paved pathways with specially designed grills.
Display Of Beautiful Canvas Paintings - Gallery 6
The first floor is divided into three galleries each with a closed verandah. In Gallery 6, the visitor can have a glance at the short history of the paintings of Governors and Viceroys of Goa, before they proceed to appreciate a large number of portraits on wood and canvas. The viceroy Dom Joao de Castro, initiated and ordered paintings of portrait of his own and also of twelve predecessors. This practice continued till the end of the Portuguese rule in India in 1961.
These portraits are painted either on wooden planks or on canvas and in oil colours. A short label is also fixed to each object in slanting position at the bottom indicating the name and the regnal year. They were painted by local artists and have been subjected to restoration or repainting on many occasions.
These paintings, originally decorating the walls of different residential mansions of the Governors and Viceroys, were shifted from the Secretariat, Panaji to the Museum in 1962 to make them available for public view. Many of these paintings are of life size and provide an interesting study in the evolution of contemporary costumes and hairstyle of Europe and give an idea of the different coat of arms besides their individual personalities and appearances.
Two wooden screens kept in the gallery have been utilised for exhibiting painting of Vasco-de-Gama, list of Portuguese Governors/Viceroys, map of Goa, postal, revenue and court fee stamps of Portuguese India.
The Coin & Currency Collection
In the vertical type coin showcase are exhibited the Portuguese currency and silver /copper/lead/brass coins. Afonso de Albuquerque ordered minting of coins soon after his conquest of Goa in AD 1510. The major denominations include the Portuguese Manoel, Leal and the indigenous Pardav, Tanga, Xerafins, Rupia, etc.
The most common type of coin is the one with holy cross or king and queen on the obverse along with a circular legend and year and coat of arms on the reverse. The first paper currency was issued sometime in 1882. The currency notes usually show the image of Afonso de Albuquerque on the right side with the legend BANCO NACIONAL ULTRAMARINO and INDIA PORTUGUESA and denominations on obverse and sea motif on the reverse. The denominations are 10, 20, 30, 50, 60, 100, 300, 500, 600 and 1000 Escudos or Rupias.
In this gallery, wooden sculptures of Jesus, St. Francis Xavier, St. Joseph and other Christian Saints are also on display. A model of the fort of Diu is on view in this gallery.
In the chapel on the southern wall is a painting depicting Mary descending from the Heaven, accompanied by children and few Saints on the earth. The wooden frame and the borders of this painting were decorated and gilded.
In Gallery 7 are displayed the portrait paintings of Governors/Viceroys. In the showcase are exhibited the plaster cast bust of Philippe Bernado Guedes, Governor, on one side and the wooden statue of St. Peter on the other side.
In the verandahs are displayed some religious paintings and wooden sculptures of Christian Saints, etc.; the vast verandah on the eastern side of the first floor, is used to display huge panel paintings depicting the martyrdom of Jesuit priests. A wooden screen has been provided in this gallery to break monotony and the space on this screen has been used for display of paintings of Governors.
In Gallery 8 are displayed the paintings of Governors/ Viceroys, President of Portugal and Dr. Salazar, the prime minister of Portugal during whose time Goa was liberated by Indian army on 19th December 1961. In a small niche on the northern wall is the bust of Queen Maria da Glorida of Portugal.
A photograph of Vassalo-de-Silva, the last Governor General is on display. These paintings have been barricaded by providing a brass chain railing to prevent visitors from handling the paintings. There are also on view life-size wooden sculptures representing Mary Rosary and St. Peter in this gallery.
In the verandah, wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ and paintings on wooden and canvas depicting the life scenes of Jesus viz., his birth, trial, crucifixion and his descent from the cross are on view. In the showcase are displayed Portuguese arms like rifles, swords, a dagger and a few stone and iron canon balls.
In front of the Museum building are exhibited six canons of different sizes.
Timings: Open Daily Except Fridays From 10.00 am To 5.00 pm.