The Museu do Oriente is the result of the Fundação Oriente great desire to create a museum that would tell the story of Portuguese relations with the East, since the arrival of Vasco da Gama to India, in 1498, to the present day.
The chosen place to install the museum was a building in the Lisbon Docks, which once served as a Cod warehouse. The adaptation work to a museum, was entrusted to the architect Carrilho da Graça, and in 2008 opened doors to the public. The environment, of half-light, gives the sense of a sacred place, and the visit seems a ritual journey.
The museum’s permanent collection is divided in 2 major sections:
1st floor – Portuguese Presence in Asia: Japan (Namban Art; weapons; sacred objects; kimonos), Macau (palanquin), China (screens; porcelain from various dynasties), Timor (gold knives; traditional houses called Los Palos) and India (mainly Goa).
2nd Floor – Gods of Asia: about 600 pieces donated by the Kwok On Museum (Paris). It consists of a thematic exhibition on Eastern religions and myths – Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Nepal, Tibet, Burma and Sri Lanka; each with their specific beliefs and rituals, however, the majority is focused on India’s beliefs (Vishnu; Shiva and Brahma, the supreme trinity; Ganesh, a mythical figure with an elephant head; and Kali, the goddess of 4 arms).
If you also like oriental flavours, try the excellent restaurant of the museum.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00am to 6.00pm. Friday from 10.00am to 10.00pm (free entrance from 6.00pm to 10.00pm). Closed on Mondays and January 1st and December 25th.