Khoo Kongsi

sights / Architecture

Khoo Kongsi information

Location
Georgetown , Malaysia
Address
18 Cannon Sq
More information
www.khookongsi.com.my
Prices
admission adult/child RM10/1
Opening hours
9am-6pm
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The kongsi, or clanhouse, is a major node of overseas Chinese communities, and the Khoo Kongsi is the most impressive one in Penang.

The Khoo, who trace their lineage back 25 generations, are a successful clan, and they’re letting the world know. Stone carvings dance across the entrance hall and pavilions, many of which symbolise or are meant to attract good luck and wealth. Note the Sikh guardian watchman at the entrance. The interior is dominated by incredible murals depicting birthdays, weddings and, most impressively, the 36 celestial guardians (divided into two panels of 18 guardians each). The fiery overhead lighting comes courtesy of enormous paper lamps. Gorgeous ceramic sculptures of immortals, carp, dragons, and carp becoming dragons (a traditional Chinese motif symbolising success) dance across the roof ridges. As impressive as all of this is, Khoo Kongsi was once more ostentatious; the structure caught fire on the night it was completed in 1901, an event put down to divine jealousy. The present kongsi dates from 1906. At research time, a hotel was being built on the premises.