Lion head symbol

The Lion Head Symbol was launched in 1986 as an alternative national symbol. It is in solid red against a white background - the colours of the national flag. The lion symbolises courage, strength and excellence, while the five partings of the lion's mane represents Singapore's five ideals.

Symbolic Meaning
The lion is significant as Singapore's name is derived from the old Sanskrit term simha or singha, meaning "lion". The symbol in the icon represents courage, strength and excellence. It is in solid red against a white background, a reflection of the colours of the national flag.

Its mane's five partings represents the five ideals -- democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. These are the same ideals as embodied in the five stars of the national flag. The lion's tenacious mien symbolises the nation's single-minded resolve to face any challenges and overcome any obstacles.

The national flag and state crest has legal restrictions which prohibit their use for non-government and commercial purposes. The then Ministry of Communications and Information launched a search among art institutions and advertising agencies for a logo that could best exemplify the characteristics of a nation and be used in a more informal context.

The lion head was chosen as a logo, as it best captures, the characteristics of Singapore's reputation as a Lion City. It was introduced in 1986 as Singapore's alternative national symbol.

Extracted from Guidelines on the use of National Symbols (The Singapore Lion Symbol). (July 1999). Ministry of Information and the Arts.

Guidelines for use
(1) Subject to approval, organisations can use the Singapore Lion Symbol for the purpose of identifying with the nation and with the endeavour to achieve excellence for Singapore.

(2) In application, the symbol should not be modified in any way. However, the symbol in outline, embossed or portrayed as a watermark, are acceptable forms of depiction. It should preferably face left and be used together with the word "Singapore".

(3) The symbol should preferably be in red on a white background or white on a red background. However, it may also appear in gold, silver or in the corporate colours of the user organisation. Users must ensure that the symbol is depicted only in one colour.


Zubaidah Mohamed

Ministry of Culture. (1997). Singapore facts and pictures (p. 8). Singapore: Ministry of Culture.
(Call No.: RSING 959.57 SMCFPS).

Ministry of Information and the Arts. (1999). The national symbols kit [kit]. Singapore: Ministry of Information and the Arts.
(Call No.: YRSING 320. 54095957027 NAT)

Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts. (2002). National symbols. The lion head symbol. Retrieved March 11, 2003, from 

The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Politics and Government>>National Symbols
Law and government>>Political ideologies>>Nationalism
National symbols
Emblems, National--Singapore

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