The Merlion statue

The Merlion statue, Singapore, public art, Lim Nang Seng

Public Art : The Merlion

Sculptor: © Lim Nang Seng (1907 - 1987) and his three sons.

Description: The 26 foot (8.6 metres) high, 80 ton concrete Merlion (half-lion, half-fish), which is the official mascot of Singapore,  was designed as part of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board's program to attract tourists to their fair city. The Merlion which rests on its tail sprays a fountain of water from its mouth into the Singapore River. At night the base lights up, sending a green hue over the fish's scales. The statue also pipes music for tourist pleasure.

Date Unveiled: Work on the statue began in November, 1971 and was completed in August of 1972 but was officially unveiled by the Singapore Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, on his birthday, on the 15th September, 1972.

Cost: $165,000 (Singapore currency)

Location: The Merlion statue was originally located at the Mouth of the Singapore River on The Esplanade but on the 15th of September, 2002 it was moved to its current location outside the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore.


The Merlion has been erected as a symbol to welcome all visitors to Singapore.

It was formally installed at a ceremony on 15 September 1972 by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister.

Singapore Tourist Promotion Board

Merlion Trivia: The sculptor, Seng, used the logo of the Tourism Board, which was designed by Mr Frank Brunner (the then curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium), as his inspiration for the statue. Kwan Sai Kheong, then Vice Chancellor of the University of Singapore, and Ambassador to the Philippines is often mistakenly credited with being the designer of the logo.

In 2012, for the Merlion's 40th birthday, it was given a makeover. The famous icon was hidden from the public for 5 months while cracks were filled, stains were scrubbed away and the base was replaced.

In 2012 an English man contacted the Singapore Tourist board requesting permission to have the Merlion tattooed on his body.

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