sign in a cave in Laos

20 November 2017

Da Seng Ngan cave temple with blue haired Buddha

In 2014 I posted about the blue haired Buddha in cave temples around Ipoh, Perak. The main temple to have these Buddhas is Da Seng Ngan at Gunung Rapat. In Nov 2016 I went back to have another look.

Tokong Da Seng Ngan is next to Kwan Yin temple. There used to be access between the two but now it seems they have been separated off.

Da Seng Ngan is thought to have been established over 100 years ago but in 1974, the bund of a retention pond for tin mine tailings broke its banks. The resulting mud slide buried all the cave temples in this area at the foot of Gunung Rapat. Other temples were soon dug out, but Da Seng Ngan remained buried for 32 years. When the Ipoh Benevolent Society were building a second pond they came across the buried temple. The walls and facade of the temple were all intact. Artefacts found included copper statues of the Buddha, porcelain statues of Kuan Kong (God of War), urns, candleholders and chinaware.  The Star newspaper had several articles in March 2006.

Over the years the temple has developed with buildings and lots of new statues. There are now lots of these mass produced Buddhas by the car park.

I don't think much has changed inside the cave area. Although some of the Buddhas now have more decorative robes, such as this black haired Buddha -

Black haired Kwan Yin made of fake (?) wood -

And a group of different hair colours, white, blue and black -
Here the blue haired Buddha is holding a golden ball
and this one a blue ball
Note there is also a bald patch on top of the head!

The newer statues seem to look more feminine. I don't know if this is intentional or just the production.

Whilst in Ipoh we had a look at a couple of shops that sell temple paraphernalia and saw just a few blue hair statues -

Again I have tried to find the significance of the blue hair but there is very little info. Some sites suggest the blue is favoured by people in Tibet and Nepal, as those people favour the blue mineral  lapis lazuli. It reminds them of the azure sky in those high altitude regions, and it is said that the hair of their goddess had this colour. Both men and women wore it on their heads. And statues prepared in Tibet and the Himalayn kingdom of Nepal have their hair painted blue.

Other say lapis is the color of the principal Medicine Buddha, making this stone an important one in Buddhist mysticism. The Lapis Healing Master is one of the most honored figures in the Buddhist pantheon.

It is surprising why so few other temples feature this blue hair.

My 2014 blog on the blue hair Buddha

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

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