Papier Maché Fishmen

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Several fishmen are painted in front only. The reverse shows the unpainted plaster of paris and at times even the straw body. Those examples were pasted onto a paper
or other surface, as the need dictated, to form part of a mythological scene. Most are painted three-dimensionally. I was told that until the late 1950s yearly
competitions among the paper shops were held at Beach Road in Singapore. The likelihood is that some of these fishmen were used at such a competition. (ref. Mr. Daniel Lee.)
At these competitions the paper shops showed their best wares to impress their clientele. Temple officials in search of the best items might favour a winning paper
shop with patronage from such temples for the coming year. An early day’s Trade Fair. Because of their fragility, some of the fishmen have broken limbs and some
have parts missing or paint deteriorating. Despite that and for academic purposes, I decided to leave these in the collection rather than remove them, with what
might have been an important character Several of the fishmen carry studio labels, showing their Chinese origin.

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