Merlion in Singapore
The Merlion (Malay: Singa-Laut) is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, used as a mascot of Singapore. Its name combines "mer" meaning the sea and "lion". The fish body represents Singapore's origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means "sea town" in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore's original name — Singapura — meaning "lion city" or "kota singa".
The symbol was designed by Fraser Brunner, a member of the Souvenir Committee and curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, for the logo of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in use from 26 March 1964 to 1997 and has been its trademarked symbol since 20 July 1966. Although the STB changed their logo in 1997, the STB Act continues to protect the Merlion symbol. Approval must be received from STB before it can be used. The Merlion appears frequently on STB-approved souvenirs.
The merlion— a mythical creature with the body of a fish and the head of a lion— occurs in a number of different artistic traditions. Lions with fishtails can be found on Indian murals at Ajanta and Mathura, and on Etruscan coins of the Hellenistic period. Merlions, or ‘heraldic sea- lions’, are an established element of Western heraldry, and have been used on the coat of arms of the cities of Portsmouth and Great Yarmouth in the United Kingdom; the City of Manila; and the East India Company.
These five Merlions in Singapore are the only ones recognized by the STB: Its body is made of cement, skin from porcelain plates and eyes from small red teacups. The project cost about S$165,000.
- Analysis of the mythology and meaning of the Merlion from the perspective of country branding in: Koh, Buck Song (2011). Brand Singapore: How Nation Branding Built Asia's Leading Global City. Marshall Cavendish, Singapore. .
- Official Merlion FAQs on Singapore Tourism Board website
- Merlion Takes a Time-Out for a shower
- Virtual Reality Tour of Merlion Park
- Brief guide to responses to Thumboo's nation-making poetry by later authors
- Merlion park video
- Individual collector of the Merlion
- Reflections on the comparison between Copenhangen's Little Mermaid and the Merlion
- Signification and Icons as Myths in Singapore Biennale 2006
- 938LIVE Merlion Struck by Lightning report