If you go down to the woods today…

… you’ll find something quite fascinating, if you happen to be on Section 3 of the Wilson Trail (at distance post 026, grid reference KK163701, just above Ma Yau Tong), as I was yesterday.

There is a large collection of brightly coloured sculptures featuring people (apparently of various races) and animals, many of them labelled in English, as well as a shrine with some sort of deity in it. The sculptures are getting a little dilapidated, but the shrine itself is still clearly maintained on a regular basis. Here are some examples:

A very big tortoise!

A very big tortoise!

Slippery road - Be careful

Slippery road - Be careful

Does a monkey on a tiger's back mean something in Chinese?

Does a monkey on a tiger's back mean something in Chinese?

That's a real (old - mid-90s) mobile phone in its hand

That's a real (old - mid-90s) mobile phone in its hand

The nearest character appears to be a gweilo

The nearest character appears to be a gweilo

Three kids, only two breasts! The third has a real bottle.

Three kids, only two breasts! The third has a real bottle.

This is the deity of the shrine it seems.

This is the deity of the shrine it seems.

This is the big sign at the entrance to the shrine.

This is the big sign at the entrance to the shrine.

I can find lots of other similar pictures online, but no-one seems to be able to offer an explanation of what all this is about. Do any of my readers have any idea? In particular, what do the Chinese characters in that last picture say?

And in addition to this surprise in the woods, the views out on the hills yesterday were well worth putting up with the 34 degree heat.

The view from Black Hill toward's Devil's Peak

The view from Black Hill toward's Devil's Peak

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8 Responses to If you go down to the woods today…

  1. smog says:

    Very quickly after requesting help on Geoexpat, one Pekkerhead came up with this old story in The Standard from 1996 which explains what they are. I fear that the creator of this delight is no longer with us (he would be 97 years old now) so go and see them while you have a chance!

  2. tiger lily says:

    I beleive Pic #7 is Deity Wong Tai Sin .

    Wong Tai Sin is amongst the most popular Deity worshiped in HK. Believed to be very accurate in Oracles. Yearly, believers would go and get a new fortune reading starting the Chinese New Year.

    Wong Tai Sin Temple is a Taoist temple established in 1921, it is one of the most famous temples in Hong Kong. It is also renowned among overseas Chinese in Southern Asia and all over the world.

    Pic # 8 . The big sign to the entrance of the shrine 觀音海望

    Quan Yin 觀音 is the God of Mercy,
    海 = Sea
    望 = looking

    The God of Mercy is watching over the sea ?

    The ambiguity of Chinese 4 Characters phrase is that, the characters could be read as a noun or a verb and when combined differently, could give different meanings…. I personally like it because it evokes the subconscious.

    I haven’t been to the place, but I get this feeling , if there is a sea sight , that could well mean:
    海望 a spot to overlooking the sea,and named that 觀音‘Quan Yin’.

    The deeper meaning could be ‘ the over looking of the sea leading one to see the God of Mercy ? ’

  3. tiger lily says:

    I am also suggesting :

    The sea, metaphorically speaking, life itself.
    The Buddhists believe One has to cross the sea to reach the other side.
    To go ashore to the other side, the after life.

    God of Mercy is watching at sea ?

  4. tiger lily says:

    Intrigued by the writing of the sign… I looked again……. this time with my glasses , from right to left it reads :

    望海觀音

    望海 = sea facing
    觀音 = God of Mercy

    it says “ the sea facing God of Mercy” .

    Apparently there is an Old Temple 廟 in 灣仔大道東 Wan Chai
    Named the 望海觀音
    It was built near the sea side which is now the
    灣仔大道東.
    That’s how it was named : The sea facing God of Mercy Temple.

    The year it was built is unknown, but since refurbishment in 1862 it’s been standing over a hundred year already.
    This poem expressed the changes in the life of HK :

    望海觀音不望海,
    百年香港見滄桑.
    The sea facing Quan yin is no longer facing the sea.
    The hundred years of HK have witnessed vicissitudes.

  5. Ulaca says:

    I’d rather trust to the bottle than that fellow’s boobs.

  6. Pekkerhead says:

    In case you were wondering (perhaps not?) – the temple Tiger Lily is referring to is the Hung Shing Temple on Queen’s Road East just down from the old Post Office.

    Before reclamation filled it all in, the waterfront used to be where Queen’s Road East now sits.

    Great story by the way. Mr Lee’s legacy looks set to be remembered for some time to come thanks to your post.

  7. hkorbust says:

    I also ran into these once during a hike – very interesting… Shame the nearby fort can’t be opened up a little…

  8. Pete says:

    Thanks Smog for the hiking suggestion. It’s great weather right now so I’ll try to hike twice a week.

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