On one of my last days in Singapore, I took the advice of a friend who studies amusement parks and set off for Haw Par Villas, a park (now free and open daily) built by the brothers who created Tiger Balm, the pain relieving ointment. The park was set up to provide moral lesson through exhibits that consisted mainly of miniature dioramas (with figures around 9-13 inches high; other dioramas were life-size). This is a great find for extending our ideas about how miniatures have been used not just by hobbyists and collectors, but by artists, businesses, and those wanting to share aspects of their culture.

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There were dioramas depicting mythological stories as well as lesson in morality and clean living:

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But best of all were the exhibits in the “10 Courts of Hell” which predicted your fate if you misbehaved. Imagine yourself as a little kid seeing this!

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I also loved the faux landscape textures and could imagine a miniature version of this.

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