Strange Things Are Afoot in Singapore – Haw Par Villa

featured, Travel

Zhi Dian Mi Jin

Welcome to Hell.  Haw Par Villa, also known as Tiger Balm Gardens, has an attraction called The 10 Courts of Hell.  Built in 1937 by the guys who started the Tiger Balm company, this tourist attraction does anything but soothe and comfort (like Tiger Balm does.  In case you didn’t know that Tiger Balm did that).  No word on if it SMELLS like Tiger Balm there.  The park was a bit damaged during World War II, so one of the sons of the Tiger Balm guys added some other statues to continue the purpose of the park – to educate people as to traditional Chinese legends and the tenets of Confucianism.

There are a total of 1000 statues and over 150 dioramas at Haw Par Villa.  Here is just a taste.  The image you see above is of a wizard making a guesture that means Zhi Dian Mi Jin, an encouragement to follow the correct path in life.  He is at the front of the park, along with the gate:


The Journey Into the West

The following images are from the tableau called “The Journey into the West.”

Journey to the West 1

Journey to the West 2

Journey to the West 4

Journey to the West 5

Journey to the West 6

Journey to the West 7

Shows what they think of the west, eh?

The Dragon and The Ten Courts of Hell

You have to walk into the mouth of a dragon to enter the Ten Courts of Hell.  I’m not showing you pictures of the Ten Courts of Hell.  You’ll have to go to Singapore (or here) to see them.  But the dragon is pretty sweet.

Dragon Entrance to the Ten Courts of Hell

Dragon Mouth 1

Dragon Mouth 2

And these are the guys who guard the dragon’s mouth.  In Chinese tradition, they are the “fierce guardians of Hades” who will chase you into Hell when you die.

Guardian of Hell 1

Guardian of Hell 2

The Fruits of Meditation

The following statues are meant to show that with meditation, even non-human things can become human.

Fruits of Meditation 1

Fruits of Meditation 2

Fruits of Meditation 3

Fruits of Meditation 4

Boundary Masks

There are huge masks that line the perimeter of the park.  Behind these huge masks lie the ruins of all the discarded statues that time forgot.  Or, at least, that the park deemed not good or touristy enough.

Boundary Mask 1

Boundary Mask 2

Boundary Mask 3

Boundary Mask 4

Miscellaneous Other Images

Here are some more images.  I just can’t get enough.

Souvenier Shop

This is the souvenir shop.  Legend has it if you go to the shop at a certain time of night and knock, a man who is 200 years old will answer.

Singapore 2

Your guess is as good as mine.

Singapore 3

Bizarre.  NSFW?  A little, I guess, but it’s art so who knows?

Unknown Tableau 4

All babies are cute, right?

Unknown Tableau 2

And I’m spent.

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