Repair and Restoration Smith of Religious Statues

Fine feathers make fine birds. Located in the ancient town of Melaka, Chop Hock Seng not only sells a wide range of religious statues, the second generation owner could also be seen employing various tools and repairing religious statues attentively. He —— Mr Ong You Huat (transliteration), is a repair and restoration smith of religious statues, which is a practice rarely found locally.

To repair religious statues is a painstaking handicraft, the entire process requires utmost patience and meticulous attention, as well as spending a long time at the workbench to repair the religious statues according to varying damage conditions, from simply a few days up to a span of several weeks. In restoring old religious statues, the main consideration is to conserve its traditional, natural, and unadorned colours. Mr Ong also fills the cracks with clay, and reconstruct the props of the religious statue, such as a beard, walking sticks etc. After restoration, the religious statue appears to be totally new.

Due to the majority of religious statues sold in earlier years by his father —— Mr Ong Kian Kok (transliteration) were imported from China, some became cracked or damaged due to issues in weather and transportation, especially wooden ones. In order not to discard these statues and concerns in operation cost, master sculptors from China were hired to instruct them. Hence Mr Ong You Huat (transliteration) started handling repair works on religious statues since his youth, and now has over 30 years of experience. He also expresses that this is an extremely unpopular trade, being time-consuming and laborious. In this age of fast-paced environment, none of the younger generation are willing to take up this trade.

Text: Daniel Lim & Pua Hui Wen

有你 UNI Production
Producer : Mok Yii Chek
Coordinator : Daniel Lim
Cinematographer : Amelia Lim / Evon Pang
Video Editor : Evon Pang
Music : Battersea Bridge from Felt Music


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *