BUSAN, South Korea — Have you ever wondered if Bruce Lee’s outfits really fit that that tight, how Elvis got his fans all shook up with his blue eyes and what Madonna’s muscular legs would look like from up close?
Why not see for yourself as the famed Madame Tussauds wax figure exhibition, currently on display at Shinsegae in Centum City since last year, wraps up its run on the peninsula this month.
A combination of the world’s most famous Hollywood stars, music performers, action figures and political heavyweights are presented in the form of life-size wax figures. It’s as close as you can get to the real thing. You can check out Madonna, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Lee Myung-bak, David Beckham and even Spiderman. There are plenty of fun photo opportunities if you would like to shake hands with Barack Obama, pick a fight with Jackie Chan, enjoy a cup of tea with Audrey Hepburn or rock ân’ roll with Elvis.
The original idea of creating wax figures has a long history dating back to 1777 when French wax sculptor, Marie Tussaud, created the first figure in London. People she modeled at that time included famous historical figures like Benjamin Franklin and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
The original Madame Tussauds museum in London, as it is today, opened more than two hundred years ago and features a wide collection of A-list celebrities, political figures, sport legends and historical icons. The growing popularity of Madame Tussauds has lead to the opening of new branches (including museums and temporary exhibitions) in major cities featured in America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
The Busan exhibition has been running since June 2012, says Lee Woo Young, a floor assistant and photographer at Madame Tussauds. We have approximately five hundred visitors on a weekend. The exhibition has been extremely popular with families, as it is an excursion both young and old can enjoy.
According to Lee, the most popular figure by far has been Michael Jackson. Korean celebrity Kim Hyun-joong has also been a favorite among fans who haven’t been shy handing out kisses, taking him for real.
A nice touch to the exhibition are the accompanying fact sheets about the celebrities. Here you can find interesting information about your favorite star including birth dates, accomplishments and famous quotes. For 8000 won extra you can also mold your own wax hands which can be taken home as a souvenir.
Tickets for adults are 9000 (free for children under the age of 3). Opening hours are 10:30 to 20:00 on weekdays and 10:30 to 21:00 Fridays to Sundays. But hurry up, as the exhibition only runs until 31 March.
Madame Tussauds is situated on the 6th floor of Shinsegae Centum City in Haeundae.
Subway: Directly connected to Centum City Station, Subway Line 2
Bus: Shinsegae Centum City Station. Bus Line 5-1, 36, 39, 40, 63, 115, 139, 141, 155, 307, 1001, (Express) 1002.
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Photos by Elaine Coetzee