Tang Treasures at the Asian Civilisations Museum

Tang Treasures exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum

Some of the gold and ceramics from the Belitung Shipwreck are now at the Asian Civilisations Museum in a small exhibition featuring some of the more spectacular pieces – and some that were not exhibited before.

Tang Treasures exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum
Tang Treasures exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum


For those of you familiar with the ACM, the Tang Treasures exhibition is located in the staging room between the 2nd-floor foyer and the main galleries. I’ve never actually seen this room used as an exhibition space before and I guess this exhibition was put up after the Smithsonian decided to snub it.

The exhibition hall at the Asian Civilisations Museum
The exhibition hall at the Asian Civilisations Museum

This is not the first time the artefacts have been exhibited in Singapore; it made its debut last year at the ArtScience Museum. Some of the more prominent artefacts such as the bronze mirrors, the greenware dragon ewer and the gold cup were again displayed here.

Bronze mirrors from China
Bronze mirrors from China
Dragon Ewer, greenware from the Gongxian Kilns
Dragon Ewer, greenware from the Gongxian Kilns
Gold octagonal cup with musicians and a dancer
Gold octagonal cup with musicians and a dancer

Slightly over 100 artefacts are on display at the ACM. I could be wrong, but this silver flask was not on display before:

Gilded silver flask
Gilded silver flask

This display which allowed visitors to touch the artefacts was a pretty nice touch too.

This exhibition will be on display for a relatively short time – until 17 June 2012. I note with some cynicism that the artefacts are owned by the Singapore Tourism Board and not by any museum-related agency. I wonder if it means that the purchase of the collection is meant to be a moneyspinner for the state?

For more information about The Tang Shipwreck: Gold and Ceramics from 9th-century China at the Asian Civilisations Museum, click here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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