Finally arrived at Yeo Swee Huat after a dreadful walk in the rain!
Shop’s signboard hung above the altar table, along with other offerings to the deities.
Just some of the many articles on interviews done with the boss, Mr Yeo Hung Teo. Indeed a reputable man in the industry.
Beautiful and big lanterns
These huge lanterns have words of blessings where traditional Teochew families would hang outside their homes to bring them harmony and prosperity.
Mr Yeo is all smiles and his eyes glistens with passion when he showed us his masterpiece with pride. He said the Teochews believed that hanging such lanterns would also help the family to bear more sons.
Joss paper, goods and figurines
Other than being famous for his latern paintings, we notice that the boss does paper crafts as well such as paper making of deities’ statues.
The finished product.
Sealed and ready for delivery to customers. These will be burned as offerings for the dead.
The yellow paper sealed across the clothes trunk has written details of the names of the deceased and the person who bought it.
Curious to find out what goes into the clothes trunk…
There’s a shoe peeking out from the trunk!
Hats and piles of clothes.
An extraordinary black trunk that was different from the rest which we saw at the shop.
The meaning behind offering and burning of Clothes Trunk:
In the Chinese tradition, it was believed that the deceased are able to bring benefits or cause harm to the living. In order to appease them, the Chinese (believers of Buddhism and Taoism) burned incense and paper goods such as clothes, money and even modern electronic gadgets for the benefit of their deceased loved ones in order to provide a better situation for them in the afterlife. The significance of doing these rituals is to pass down the tradition and teach the future generations about respecting their ancestors.
Don’t forget to catch a video of packing a Clothes Trunk!
Hats for Deities
There were many different hats for deities
An auntie told us that the green paper in the middle represents jade.
Check out a video on how the worker touches up a deity hat!
Clothes and shoes for deities
These paper shoes are for Monks and Tong Zi (童子)
Raw piece of paper clothing which the employees will have to touch up with coloured papers.
Paper black shoes is for male deities
An employee drew templates for shoes which she cut out and shaped them later.
Clothes worn by The Monkey King (齐天大圣)
Clothes worn by Tongzi (童子)
Why burn paper hats, clothings and shoes for deities:
People burn paper offerings to the deities or gods to give thanks for blessings or to beg for assistance in times of need. The Chinese calls this Jīdé (积德). Why do gods need money and clothings? A common belief is that benefits were distributed between this world and the next. The deities take note of the worshipper, accept the offerings and then redistribute them to needy spirit in the other world.
Source: For Gods, Ghosts and Ancestors: The Chinese Tradition of Paper Offerings by Janet Lee Scott
The five-coloured paper horses (五色马)
The five colours that are used to make the horses are black, white, yellow, red and green.
The skeletal frame of an unfinished paper horse.
The meaning behind paper horses
The five coloured horses represents the five general deities of which the most prominent deity is the Marshall of the Altar (中坛元帅) also known as Nezha (哪吒).
An employee covers the structure with brown paper before coloured papers were used for decoration
Looking neat and well done even from the very first layer
An employee shaping pieces of ornaments to decorate the structure on the right
The product is close to finish
The final touch is the red paper with wordings that translates to “silver treasure vault”
The final product!
A paper pagoda tower
Tools and materials used
Check out their tools station!
Work desks and more materials placed within their reach…
The bamboo sticks used to shape different structures like the horse and house. Splinters alert!!!
Employees stick to traditional methods of securing the bamboo sticks using paper and glue made out of seaweed to bind them together.
Close-up of seaweed glue
Why seaweed glue is used?
When asked why seaweed glue is used as compared to contemporary glue that we are using today, Mr Yeo said that only glue made from seawood or flour are used in his industry. He still follows the same traditional methods after many decades by using special glue made from seaweed in all his products. He explained that glue made from seaweed gives a better finishing as compared to glue made from flour.
An honourable picture to end our venture!
The team with the shop owner, Mr Yeo Hung Teo