NEO MONKEY KING

The Neo Monkey King is a contemporary redesign of the Monkey King, representing the deity as a protective figure for his worshipers by fighting of any incoming evil spirits. In an attempt to appeal to an international audience, a minimalist design was chosen, focusing on displaying the essential aspects of the deity.

Expertise

Cultural Studies, Form Studies, CMF Design

 

Year of production

2020

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REVITALISING A 124-YEAR-OLD TAOIST EFFIGY-MAKING SHOP
As part of the initiative to revitalize Say Tian Hng Buddha shop, a competition to redesign the Monkey King was launched. The new Monkey King should express the story or values embodied by the deity in new exciting ways so that non-Chinese audiences around the world can appreciate them.
Sketches of Neo Monkey King
Neo Monkey King
A CONTEMPORARY RE-INTERPRETATION
Instead of being carved from a single block of wood, the new design consists of simple geometric forms, crafted by wood turning. Colour is used sparingly, only to highlight the details of the deity. To showcase the expertise of Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop, the reliefs on the figure are made using their special dough.
PLAYFUL AND REBELLIOUS
Being a monkey by nature, Monkey King has an inherent playful, and sometimes rebellious, side. This is shown through the dynamic pose and rounded design.A migraine-inducing crown is also present on his head and was used to discipline him during his journey to the west (India).
Back view of body for Neo Monkey King
Front view of body for Neo Monkey King
AN IMMORTAL MIGHTY WARRIOR
The full-body armour on Monkey King symbolises his immense strength as a warrior. The pattern on the armour represents rows of peaches, hinting to him rising above the state of immortality after eating a great amount of peaches from the Garden of Peaches of Immortality.
8000KG MAGIC ROD
He holds a rod which features a spiral design, suggesting its origin as a pillar from a Dragon Kings palace.
Close up vew of staff of Neo Monkey King
Aerial view of base of Neo Monkey King
Front view of base for Neo Monkey King
LOOKING FROM ABOVE
As a protector, the Monkey King jumps above the clouds in order to see any incoming evils from far far away.
 
The base has a rounded edge to give it a sense of lightness and floating qualities, properties similar to clouds.
Exploded view of Neo Monkey King
CONSTRUCTION PROCESS
Each part of the figure is made with a combination of wood turning and carving. Dowel joint is then used to connect them together. After assembly, gold paint is applied, followed by the special dough for the reliefs
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The Neo Monkey King is an attempt to make the mythological figure relevant in an increasingly secular world.