Ever wondered what those Lion heads are made of? I’ve done a lot of Lion Dance during Chinese New Year and I can tell you that those Lion heads can get heavy after awhile. During my trip to KL, I visited a warehouse where they specialise in making Lion heads. This place is very famous in Malaysia for their production of handmade, top quality lions (to withstand the vigorous movements in very crowded areas!)
This is the skeleton of the lion head, made of very thin rattan (cane). It’s tied and shaped together neatly by small pieces of fabric string.
Then they cover the skeleton all round with very thin pieces of what looks like muslin cloth (but don’t know what they’re actually made of!) soaked in a sticky paste. Kinda like something we do in Kindy with making paper-marche.. Once dried, it forms a hardened shell. Then the artwork begins. The 2 photos above are artwork ‘stations’ where the first base colour and glitter paper goes on after the ‘paper-mache’ dries up.
Check out the paint that they use to mix and match. This is how a typical paint table at every artwork ‘station’ looks like.
This lady here looks after the finishing touches. After all the paint dries up and all the glitter paper is glued on, she applies some kind of sealant all over the lion. Someone pointed out to me that the lion that this lady is working on is a lion specially made to perform on wedding occasions. If you look closely, on the front of the lion head has the word ‘Hei’ in red? Which means double happiness (for the couple)
Once the finishing paintwork is done and all the fur around the eyes have been glued on, they hang it up on the wall in a row..
Here’s a couple of striking designs that I liked..