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17th/18th Century Trading Vessel figurehead in an Air Itam Temple

๐ƒ๐ข๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐š ๐ญ๐ž๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐€๐ข๐ซ ๐ˆ๐ญ๐š๐ฆ ๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ ๐œ๐ฅ๐š๐ข๐ฆ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ฉโ€™๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž๐ก๐ž๐š๐ ๐ข๐ง ๐Œ๐š๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ๐ข๐š?

๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘“๐‘–๐‘”๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘’โ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘‘ ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘Ž ๐‘ก๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐ผ๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘ก๐‘ฆ๐‘๐‘–๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ ๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘ค๐‘ ๐‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘ก ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘Ž ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘™ ๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ 17๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ 18๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘๐‘’๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ!

Located on Jalan Air Itam, the Arulmigu Sri Ruthra Veeramuthu Maha Mariamman Devasthan


am has a hidden artifact hiding in plain sight. Those driving past would notice a rare figurehead of a turbaned Indian warrior adorning the faรงade of the temple and it had pique the curiosity of many as it has no religious significance to the temple.

As shared by Mr Ganesh Kolandaveloo: "Interesting artifact of Sri Ruthra Veeramuthu Maha Mariamman Temple @ Ayer Itam. (Article published in 1991 with a recent picture from 2015)"

According to a newspaper clipping from 1991, the rare figurehead of a turbaned Indian warrior is believed to be between 150 to 200 years old. It has been on the templeโ€™s compound for some 60 years, after it was found on a hill in nearby Hye Keat Estate and was brought to the temple.

Made from chengal wood, the figurehead is believed to be from a vessel belonging to Messrs Young & Co, a former Penang shipping firm!


Photo credit: Kapal Sekawan.

Photo of the figurehead taken in January 2022 by Penang Hidden Gems.

Photo of the figurehead taken in January 2022 by Penang Hidden Gems.

Entrance to the temple.

A picture of a figure head. A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the bow of ships, generally of a design related to the name or role of a ship. They were predominant between the 16th and 20th centuries, and modern ships' badges fulfill a similar role. Photo credit: Vulkano Uwe Horst Friese, Bremerhaven ๐‘ณ๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’‘๐’๐’”๐’•? ๐‘ช๐’๐’Š๐’„๐’Œ "๐‘ณ๐’Š๐’Œ๐’†" ๐’‚๐’๐’… "๐‘บ๐’‰๐’‚๐’“๐’†"! Special thanks to @Ganesh Kolandaveloo for sharing the information on Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) Discussions.

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