Why you should visit the Asian Civilisations Museum Singapore
The ACM is housed in a beautiful historic building on a prime location.
The oldest part of the building was built by convicts from British India between 1864 and 1867. The building was initially used as Government Offices for the British colonials.
Around 1970 people began to refer to it as Empress Building, after a foodcourt in front of the building.
The ACM is located on a slight elevation along the Singapore River, across from the magnificent Fullerton Hotel.
There are benches along the river and in front of the museum, there is a cafe-restaurant and a restaurant, both by the Privé group, namely Privé ACM and Empress ACM.
I find it a very relaxing, cool (literally) and quiet place to hang out and sniff some culture.
What is this museum all about?
The mission of the ACM is to preserve the cultural heritage of Asia, especially the ancestral cultures of Singaporeans.
I particularly like the Tang Shipwreck, Chinese Ceramics and Trade collections.
- Tang Shipwreck: luxuries from a 9th century shipwreck.
In 1998, divers looking for sea cucumbers stumbled upon a shipwreck, dating back to the 9th century. It had a cargo of more than 60.000 ceramics, partly covered with crusted shells and so on, but on the other hand well-preserved thanks to the silt in which it was covered.
The ship was on it’s way from China to the Middle East when it was caught in a storm.
- Chinese Ceramics
In the past Chinese ceramics and porcelain were popular around the world. There was an international trade in these products.
The first Chinese porcelain was brought to Europe in the 14th century. People were very impressed and found the Chinese porcelain a technical miracle: it was durable, resistant to high heat and it came in a range of colours and creative designs.
Tastes in colour and designs shifted rapidly, as you can see in this exhibition.
Europeans at the time tried to copy the Chinese stuff.
E.g. Holland produced blue- and -white ceramics in Delft, but those were easily broken. It was not until around 1700 that Europeans succeeded to make genuine porcelain. After that the interest in Chinese ceramics got less big.
In the 18th century a wide range of products was made in Southern China for foreigners aka for international trade.
Things like porcelain, silk, furniture, ivory, lacquer, enamel, silver, paintings and sculptures were shipped to the Middle East, the West (Europe and the US) and Asia (South East Asia and India).
So what do you think? Did my article and pictures get you enthusiastic for the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore? Or do you know this museum already? What’s your favourite collection or piece?