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The four sculptures depicting lions preserved in the Museum of Sacred Art of Embu das Artes: global circulation and Asian-inspired objects in the former M'Boy Mirim village

Grant number: 21/00336-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2021
Effective date (End): April 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Architecture and Town Planning - Fundamentals of Architecture and Urbanism
Principal Investigator:Renata Maria de Almeida Martins
Grantee:Isabela de Oliveira Dias
Host Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The proposed Initiation Scientific Project aims to gather bibliographic and iconographic sources about the circulation of objects, materials and artistic productions of Asian inspiration, based on the artwork located in the Jesuit village of M´Boy, that is today the city of Embu das Artes. Through established relations between the decorative program of Jesuit religious spaces in Portuguese America and the documentation about the order's archive, the research seeks to highlight the influence of the Companhia de Jesus in the formation of colonial art and the dialogues between the different geographic areas where it participated actively. Therefore, the four lions preserved in the former residence of the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, today the Museum of Sacred Art, will be studied in particular, as well as the reproduction of these figures in other objects, such as porcelains, textiles and furniture. These sculptures derive from the reinterpretation of Asian models; they can be analyzed as the Fo lions, figures used for guarding homes in China, also reproduced as ornamentation of portuguese furniture with Indian inspiration, or from Indian production for the portuguese market. It is evident that the actions of Companhia de Jesus between Portugal, China, Portuguese India and Brazil, made possible the existence of a specific decorative taste in Portuguese America, a field still not contemplated in depth in Brazilian historiography. Thus, the project in question collaborates for the construction of a Global History of the Arts, focusing on the Asian contribution in the Baroque Art in America, proposed by the Projeto Jovem Pesquisador FAPESP "Baroque Encrypted: Cultural Plurality in Art and Architecture in the Missions of the State of São Paulo (1549 - 1753)", in progress at FAU-USP.

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