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Discover the objects on display in the National Palace of Sintra

Galleys Room

Built on the orders of King João III (1502-1557), this room, which may have been a gallery, connected his chambers to the northwest wing of the palace. It is possible that his grandson, King Sebastião, would have come here to take a nap and converse with his masters.

The ceiling, which shows Portuguese, Imperial Ottoman and Dutch galleys, dates from the 17th century and may have been intended to remember an important event. However, its meaning is no longer known.


Discover the objects on display in this room.

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Pieces produced in the region of Valencia, in Spain, from the 15th to 18th centuries. Their creators are unknown today.

Most were collected by King Fernando II (1816–1885) and were originally displayed in the Palace of Pena. At the time, they were regarded as quintessentially Portuguese, whose culture was seen as the positive outcome of the encounter between various cultures. In this case, between Christianity and Islam.

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  • India, 18th century
  • Teak, ebony, rosewood, ivory, brass and copper
  • Inv. No. PNS3070

This Indo-Portuguese cabinet, produced in the 17th or 18th centuries, exhibits a geometric decoration in inlaied ivory. For a long time, the figures on such cabinet's legs were interpreted as representing Nagini, half-human, half-serpent deities of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain religions. These figures are, however, half human, half fish. Contrary to the previous general conception, couldn't they simply represent mermaids?

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  • China
  • Qing Dynasty - Kangxi reign (1662-1722)
  • Porcelain
  • Inv. No. PNS110
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  • Portugal, 17th-18th century
  • Wood (mahogany?) and gilded metal
  • Inv. No. PNS3110
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Battle Scene

  • Georg Philipp Rugendas (attrib.)
  • Germany, 17th-18th century
  • Oil on canvas
  • Inv. No. PNS3630
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Battle against Turks

  • Georg Philipp Rugendas (attrib.)
  • Germany, 17th-18th century
  • Oil on canvas
  • Inv. No. PNS3631


  • Portugal, 17th century
  • Rosewood and gilded metal
  • Inv. No. PNS3096
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  • China
  • Qing Dynasty - Qianlong reign (1770-1780)
  • Porcelain
  • Inv. No. PNS54
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  • China
  • Qing Dynasty - Qianlong reign (1736-1795)
  • Porcelain
  • Inv. No. PNS61
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  • China
  • Qing Dynasty - Qianlong reign (c.1760)
  • Porcelain
  • Inv. No. PNS60
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This room owes its name to the galleys flying the ensigns of Portugal, the Ottoman Empire and the Netherlands painted on the ceiling. Hidden by a false ceiling in the 19th century, the painting was brought out of the shadows in the following century. However, its original meaning is now no longer known.


The rooms in this section were built in the 16th century on the initiative of King João III (1502-1557). They were altered several times and lost their original decoration. No information yet exists about how they were used.

We believe that the first room – the Galleys Room – may have been a gallery. In European royal palaces, galleries were places to walk in and to enjoy the views, but also to stimulate intellectual dialogue. This type of dialogue, often between a master and a disciple, was a way of producing knowledge. It was of particular importance in humanism – the philosophical doctrine that prevailed in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. The dialogues could revolve around themes painted on the walls or ceilings of the gallery, which in some cases served to laud the feats of the monarchy. Galleries were therefore places of rest and reflection, but also places of memory.

The section is divided into two parts. The Galleys Room encourages debate about the influence of the Islamic inheritance on Portuguese national memory. The following rooms exhibit objects used to preserve the memory of the noble families.