The Merlion is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, used as a mascot of Singapore. Its name combines "mer" meaning the sea and "lion". The fish body
represents Singapore's origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means "sea town" in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore's original name — Singapura — meaning "lion city" or "kota
The symbol was designed by Fraser Brunner, a member of the Souvenir Committee and curator of the Van Kleef
Aquarium, for the logo of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in use from 26 March 1964 to 1997 and has been its trademarked symbol since 20 July 1966. Although the STB changed their logo in 1997, the STB Act
continues to protect the Merlion symbol. Approval must be received from STB before it can be used.
The Merlion appears frequently on STB-approved souvenirs.
The merlion— a mythical creature with the body of a fish and the head of a lion— occurs in a number of
different artistic traditions. Lions with fishtails can be found on Indian murals at Ajanta and Mathura, and on Etruscan coins of the Hellenistic period. Merlions, or ‘heraldic sea- lions’, are an established
element of Western heraldry, and have been used on the coat of arms of the cities of Portsmouth and Great Yarmouth in the United Kingdom; the City of Manila; and the East India Company.