Leone series – handcrafted lighting objects of bamboo by Lanzavecchia + Wai
Published on August 15, 2012
Lanzavecchia + Wai collaborates with Singapore’s last remaining Lion Dance mask craftsman, resulting in Leone Lights which are a series of lamps that bring the artistry of this rare South-East Asian trade into the domestic space.
Hand-made from lithe strips of bamboo, covered by rice paper and then painted internally with a fiery orange inspired by traditional livery, these objects put the Lion dance mask craft literally in a new light to re-enter the public consciousness in a new context and expression.
Master Henry Ng, having many years of Lion dance performance experience under his belt, dedicated his passion for the art form into the craft of making Lion masks.Picking up this skill through sheer passion and inquisitiveness, he took this activity seriously and became a full-time craftsman (switching from the job of a precision metal machinist) in the mid-Nineties to cater to the many martial arts associations here.
There were about twenty-plus lion mask craftsmen in Singapore then but competition came in the form of cheaply mass produced lions from China in the late-nineties.As a result of thinning pro it margins, every single craftsmen left the trade and so he became Singapore’s last Lion Dance mask maker, a torch-bearer of a piece of culture passed on from South Chinese immigrants who came to Singapore in the early 20th century.