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Intricate carvings of a Penang Chinese temple August 21, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Craft, Culture, Malaysia, Places.


Penang or the Pearl of the Orient has more Chinese temples that I can remember. Many of them have interesting heritage tales as to their origins.

The carving of the above is found at one of these temples behind Penang road. Actually, I can’t remember the name of the road but that is not important but what is important are all the intricate carvings and various designs borrowed from ancient China.

A very long time about, about 200 to 400 years ago when the Chinese first set foot in Malaya, they brought along nothing but the clothes on their backs. Over a period that spanned generations, the community grew by leaps and bounds and eventually, the Chinese saw a need to have some structures that they could identify with.

Invariably, it always began with temples because worship of the divinity or deity is utmost in Chinese culture and tradition. The design and structures of their buildings varied according to the region the community came from and also it depended on who were the deities in order of importance.

The structures reflected the changing times of history in mainland China. But every carving had a story behind it. Today, the modern generation is generally in the dark about the tales that are identified with the figures or even animals on the walls of the Chinese temples. If there is someone in their family who is more than 80 years old, perhaps a glimmer of light can be shed on the origins of some of these structures.



1. Tim Everard - October 20, 2010

Dear Sir, IN 1974 when transitting Honk Hong we bought a number of Chinese temple Carvings in wood. They had been “brought” out of China during the cultural revolution. They are raised in various sizes and painted in gold with red backgrounds. Unfortunately during a recent move one went missing. Needless to say it was the best. A bird carved and some inches proud of its background. SWhere could I go to get a valuation for insurance?

2. asianpixmen - December 2, 2010

Tim, the only way I know where you will be able to get an accurate assessment of those artefacts will be authentic museum authorities.
But then, the value of such items is dependent on the scarcity of the artefacts and its historical signifance with regard to China’s history.

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