Home for Gods & Deities (1)
Home for Gods & Deities (2)
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A Sky Full of Abandoned Gods and Deities

At the foot of a secluded park, thousands of statues from various Chinese traditions stand and stare out to the sea.

A city in and of itself, Wah Fu Estate is perched on the edge of a cliff above the choppy waters. With the sea on one side and tall mountains on the other, the area is renowned for its excellent Feng Shui. Rumours abound of the good fortune of the area’s residents. This bountiful luck could also be due to the community’s care and consideration of these abandoned statues of deities.

The local area has been home to fishermen for hundreds of years. In its earliest history, the freshwater provided by Waterfall Bay is said to have given Hong Kong its name (directly translating to ‘fragrant harbour’ in Chinese). This potable water drew British and European sailors, en route to other Asian ports, to Hong Kong. While written records of the waterfall are rare, the area was well known to local pirates and European sailors, who would stop in Hong Kong to refill their freshwater supply. Here, the Taoist sea goddess Tin Hau would have dominated local temples and personal shrines to keep seafarers safe.

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Guan Yu surrounded
A dismembered Sun Wukong
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Statues, broken and intact
Deities were placed wherever
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The staircase leading down towards the shrine
The sunset from Waterfall Bay Park
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Today, Tin Hau is one of many major deities that keep watch over the great freight ships traveling in and out of Hong Kong. A confluence of Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian figures, the shrine at the foot of Waterfall Bay Park is a fair representation of Southern Chinese folk religions. From war heroes to merciful characters, personifications of happiness to symbolic ornaments, the “Sky Full of Abandoned Gods and Deities” has it all.

One man looks after all these thousands of statues, local octogenarian, Wong Wing-pong. A slender man with thin, greying hair, Wong first came upon the hilly site in the late nineties. Back then, a dozen statues filled the space. Over the next two decades, the retired butcher constantly added to the collection and has taken care of the site, a practice he continues to this day.

Text & Photos Victoria Mae Martyn