THE ROOF

Cheng Hoon Teng's roof profile differs from that of other buildings in Malacca. Its tiles are of three different sizes, their pattern following a Yin-Yang configuration.

Removal of the roof tiles began at the central roof bay. The position coincided with that of the Goddess Of Mercy below. Although the tiles were carefully removed, at least 80 % were no longer usable. These were tiles severely damaged through age, prolonged exposure, porosity and brittleness.


Once all the beams and battens had been replaced, reconstruction started on the valley area between the main temple building and the prayer hall. The previous builders had introduced a turtle hump formation - an ingenious way to ensure good drainage at the valley area.

The original gutter was constructed from only lime mortar. To ensure a longer life span, the restoration team decided on a new copper gutter.

A decision was made to retile the entire roof with new unglazed terracotta tiles. This took into account the large number of damaged original tiles, and the need to avoid further complicated repairs in the near future. The new roof tiles were brought in from China where the tradition of using such tiles is very much alive.

The roof is heavily accentuated with Chien-Nien. After all the end tiles or wa-tang tiles were salvaged and placed back in their original position, the Chien Nien artisans would begin their work.


The Chairman of the temple's board of the trustees ceremoniously laid the last roof tile.

Once the roof tiles had been tested, it was time to remove the temporary shelter over the temple. Strict precautions were taken to avoid damage from anything falling onto the roof.