Mr Lim has been painting lanterns at the Nine Emperor Gods Temple in Ampang since he was 19 years old – more than 50 years! He has seen a lot of changes and is proud to be part of the team that undertook the renovations and preparations for the 2010 festival. Lim has been a busy man for the past couple of weeks. He had extra lanterns to make for the processions this year, as well as helping with the big dragon heads on one of the temple floats. (Why don’t I have a photo of those??)
It takes Lim about 2 days to make a lantern – he starts with the wire frames and adds the canvas in a process that is similar to the way Chinese umbrellas are made. The paint (probably toxic) is a high gloss, with a shellac that hardens on the canvas. He then paints Taoist symbols – dragons, tigers and scenes from the “life of the Emperor” on the lanterns. If you would like to commission a lantern, it will cost you a bit – RM1,000 – negotiable, I’m sure. Otherwise you can have your name put on a lantern for RM50 and it will hang in the temple for a year.
Stop by and see Lim when you visit the temple. He is stationed behind the lantern altar, towards the dormitories, stage left of the main temple building.