The lion head maker’s tale

Seth Akmal

AFTER 30 years, Siow Ho Phiew, 67, remains passionate about his art – that of making the head of the lion of the Chinese lion dance.

Working from a warehouse in Subang, Selangor, Master Siow, as he is known, is a self-taught craftsman who learnt to make the head component of the traditional dance art by trial and error.

Today, he is bending rattan to make a frame for the head.

“I have been interested in the lion dance tradition since I was a kid.” said Siow.

Even though Malaysia is still feeling the effects of Covid-19 and the lockdowns it induced, Siow and his team at Wan Seng Hang Dragon & Lion Arts continue to do brisk business because of overseas demand for the costume.

“The pandemic should not be a reason to stop making the lion dance head as a culture. We continue promoting the culture so that it will not be lost,” he said.

Siow said Malaysia was among the places that celebrated Chinese New Year in the traditional way, and the lion dance was a vital component of the celebration. – January 23, 2022.

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