Haw Par Villa exhibit depicting a scene from 'The Legend of Madame White Snake'

'The Legend of Madame White Snake' tells the tale of a young scholar who fell in love with and married a beautiful woman, who was in fact a white snake that had taken on human form. Knowing this, a monk took the scholar to the Gold Hill Temple for refuge in order to save his soul. The scene here shows how the white snake tried to save her husband by calling on a river deity to flood the hill, which was in turn resisted by the powerful robes of the monk. Essentially the legend depicted how relationships between a mortal and a non-mortal were frowned upon by the laws of heaven. Stories such as Madame White Snake’s were aplenty at Haw Par Villa, which had on display a wide range of sculptures that showcase themes from Chinese folklore and legends. Originally called Tiger Balm Gardens, Haw Par Villa was built by Aw Boon Haw in 1937. A prominent businessman and philanthropist, Aw had set up the gardens with the intention of educating the public about Chinese culture.