The Merlion was first designed as an emblem for the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in 1964 the lion head with a fish body resting on a crest of waves quickly became Singapore’s icon to the rest of the world.
Originally located at the Merlion Park by the Esplanade Bridge, the Merlion and the Cub became a popular tourist attraction for visitors. The installation ceremony took place on 15 September 1972, officiated by the then Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Today, the Merlion has found a new home just 120 metres away from its original location, adjacent to one Fullerton.
Measuring 8.6 metres high and weighing 70 tonnes, the Merlion statue was built from cement fondue by the late Singapore craftsman, Mr Lim Nang Seng. A second and smaller Merlion statue, measuring two metres high and weighing three tones, was also built by Mr Lim. The body was made of cement fondue, the skin from porcelain plates and eyes from small red teacups.
Designed by Mr Fraser Brunner, a curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, the lion head represents the lion spotted by Prince Sang Nila Utama when he re-discovered Singapura in 11 AD, as recorded in the Malay Annals. The fish tail of the Merlion symbolises the ancient city of Temasek (meaning sea in Javanese) by which Singapore was known before the Prince named it Singapura (meaning lion (singa) city (pura) in Sanskrit), and represents Singapores humble beginnings as a fishing village.