Archives for posts with tag: tai o

W50xD40xH120mm, Macau

We have posted this form of wooden figurine (Junk Boat God, Junk Boat God, god?) twice already in the blog, but this time with a new understanding.  Last week I was at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum visiting the Picasso Exhibition (Masterpieces from Musée National Picasso, Paris), if you are visiting Hong Kong try to prebook a ticket to see, its well worth the trip.  Now I have got you all excited, well, the effigy has nothing to do with Picasso, I found similar  figurines in the local history section of the museum and here is the describsion;

“Wooden Effigies – People who lived on land worshipped wooden tablets with the names of their ancestors written on them.  Fishermen worshiped wooden effigies instead.  the appearances of the effigies vary according to the status and sex of the deceased.  The usual practice was for a family to hire a spirit medium to conduct a ceremony, and sculpt a wooden effigy of the deceased according to her instuction.  As time passed and fishing families became better educated, wooden effigies were replaced by wooden tablets.”

If this is correct, I wonder if the person this effigy is made for had an ambition to become a concert conductor.  The explanation from the museum is quite different from the one told me by the old Tanka gentlemen in the Tai O fishing village (see Junk Boat God, god?).  Would a Tanka person help me to clarify this?

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.