Archives for posts with tag: junk boat god


This figurine belonged to the Tanka tribe, a group who lived on junks by the bay and fish for a living.  In the Guangdong area, it said that their junks used to be tied together which stretches a mile long.  As time goes by, with development along the coastline, better living offer on land, most and almost all of the junks have disappeared.

This is an ancestor figurine of a middle ranking female, the crane symbolizes a departure from this world like the saints.

W85xD70xH200mm, Hong Kong

This is an effigy of a elder female ancestor of the Tanka tribe.  These ancestor figurines were kept at the boats of the Tanka fisherman offering them safety at sea.

Click here to see our other junk boat gods.


W70D60H150mm, China

This a a figure of Ne Zha, perhaps the only child deity of China.  His legend, however, is no bed time story.

Ne Zha was born in the Shang dynasty, son of general Li Jing, the miracle drama started the minute he arrived to this world.  After being pregnant for three and a half years, his mother gave birth to a ball of flesh.  General Li thought it was a demon and split the ball opened with his sword, there a boy jumped out of the opened ball.  This boy was Ne Zha, he was already capable of walking and speaking and soon became a disciple of Tai Yi Zhen Ren.  One day in May when he was seven, he took a bath by the sea and disturbed the dragon palace, the Dragon King send his coast guard to see what had happened.  Ne Zha started and argument which turned into a fight and killed the guard, the Dragon Prince came and was also killed (I wont go into the detail of his injuries …)  The dragon king was on his way to complain to Jade Emperor and got beaten up badly by Ne Zha.  The news traveled to the Jade Emperor anyway and the entire family was sentenced to death, General Li and his wife was captured to be executed.  Ne Zha turned himself in and said he is the one who made the mistake and should be the only one being punished, before his execution, he carved out his own flesh and bone to return to his parents.  Moved by his act the Jade Emperor and let his parents lived.

Through a dream Ne Zha asked his mother to build him a temple so there is a place for his soul.  Unlike Lady Li, his father is still upset at Ne Zha and punish his soul, when he found out about the temple he had it burnt.  Ne Zha was angry, with the help of his master he rebuild his body with lotus roots and now armed with the iconic wind Fire Wheels and the Universe Ring.  General Li was saved from Ne Zha by the powerful Rand Deng Dao Ren and the boy finally tamed.

In this figurine, he is holding the Universe Ring, the Fire Wheels are replaced by the typical dragon and tiger that the junk boat god rides.

Ne Zha was worshiped by the fisherman for his power to control even the dragon king who is in charge of the sea.


A chant for inviting Ne Zha to the temple.

W100xD70xH180mm, Macau

The courageous looking figurine, riding on a tiger on the right and stepping on a dragon on the left is in fact an ancestral saint of the fisherman of Hong Kong.  For the Chinese both the dragon and tiger are creature of power, being able to control them would give extraordinary strength.  These ancestral saint are kept and worshiped on the junk boat by the Tanka tribe for keeping safe their journey at sea.

See our other junk boat gods; Tanka Wooden EffigyJunk Boat God (god?), Junk Boat God, Crane Riding Mother Saint

W40xD50xH130mm, Macau

This is an old figurine worshiped by the fisherman on the junk boats of Hong Kong, it is one of the ancestral saints – Crane Riding Mother Saint, a figurine representing the female ancestors.  It is believe that ancestors would protect the fisherman at sea.  In Taoism, the Taoist saints be believe to travel around by riding a crane.

See our other entry of the Junk Boat Gods;
Tanka Wooden Effigy, Junk Boat God (god?), Junk Boat God

H170xW50xD70mm, Macau

I have been pondering about this figurine for a long time.  It is a Tanka god which would have been worshiped on the junk boat, keeping them safe on their fishing voyage.  But what kind of god would it be to be on a bicycle?!!  All my research led to dead ends.

A couple of days ago, I was in Tai O, an old fishing village in the remote part of Hong Kong.  I was attracted by the artworks surrounded a small convenience store, to my surprise they were created by the 84 years old owner, Mr. Lu, who was borned in Tai O of the Tanka clan.  He is like a walking history book and I took the opportunity to find out from him the nature of this figurine.  The figurine was indeed for worshiping, however it is not a proper god as such but someone in general who might harm you (giving you trouble, tummy ach, etc.)  So these people are made into figurines and offerings are made to them as if they are some kind of gods.  From the costume of the figurine, he is likely to be an official similar to today’s policeman.

Decoration outside Tokyo Store, Tai O.
They were created each year for the Chinese New Year with the corresponding animals from the zodiac signs, this was for the year of the rabbit.
If you are visiting Hong Kong, Tai O is a great place to go if the city and the malls becomes too overwhelming.

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