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Ceramic Figurines on the Ridges

Shiwan ceramic portrait or animal figurines, depicting stories from episodes in well-known Cantonese operas for the appreciation of deities, are always found on the ridges of Chinese temples in Hong Kong. They are not only exquisitely crafted, but also very skillfully positioned. It is noticeable that the figurines have been placed leaning forward so as to allow a clear and undistorted view from below. There are many Shiwan ceramic figurines on the ridges of the Lo Pan Temple.

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Ceramic Portrait Figurines

Reclining on the ridge is a pair of dragon-fish, which are believed to have fire-preventing power. In the centre are two dragons vying for a pearl. The pearl is green and is placed in the highest position. The shape of the dragon-fish on each side is also highly distinctive, with tails pointing upward. Their bulging pearl-shaped eyes are also strikingly unique.

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Ceramic Figurine featuring Dragon-fish
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Ceramic Figurine Featuring
'Two Dragons Vying for a Pearl'

A pair of ceramic figurines is found at the ends of the gable ridges. On the right is an old man, while the one to the left is a young lady. They are the deities of the sun and the moon. There are many legends about the two deities. One of which says that they are Peach Blossom Maid and the Duke of Zhou who are originally boy and girl attendants of the immortal Jade Emperor in Heaven. They were forced to go back to the earth because of their quarrel. They continued to fight on earth. The Duke of Zhou attempted to harm Peach Blossom Maid, but she saw through his plot. The Great White Planet Venus came to mediate. The sun rises in the east and the new moon is first visible in the west. The deities of the sun and moon therefore signify the balance of Yin and Yang and the transformation of ill fortune into good luck.

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Ceramic figurine featuring an
old man, with his right foot raised and one hand holding
a sun mirror, at the end of
the gable ridge.
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Ceramic figurine featuring a
young lady, with one hand holding a moon mirror and another hand at waist, at the
end of the gable ridge.

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