Asian Civilisations Museum, Empress Place

Singapore Travel Blog

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The place to go for some quiet time within the city. Is it the snob appeal that brings me there ? The click of the soles of the shoes on the wooden floor ? The sight of items of long lost times ? The flitter of shadows in the dark halls ? The oohs & aahs of impressed visitors ? Or maybe I'm just scouting for my next hit. heh heh heh.

I'll get better pictures once I upgrade the camera. (don't hold your breath waiting though). Even with Christmas round the corner, Santa might just pop a cap in my head if he visits instead of giving me prezzies. He would probably tell the world That was his present to them and stop moaning about lack of boxes under their tree. (unless they also wanted more of the same)

This time round there was a special exhibition featuring items from Philippines.
Some artifacts found in Singapore.
We can't take photos in the special exhibitions zone, so sorry folks ! [ I would have loved to show you the foot long inch thick cigar in the silver holder. ] Bet some ex-president would have liked to get his hands on that one. Or maybe he orders from the same supplier ? The special exhibits change every few months. The previous one was on the emperor Kangxi from China. It only costs an extra S$3 and I find it worthwhile.

I was just re-affirmed of my indeterminate nationality/features when went there. I got offered Korean, Japanese and English brochures. Very nice ! Am I that confusing to others ?   Or am I confused myself ? So far, I've been identified as the following : Japanese,  Korean (by many incl. a Korean restaurant owner),  Thai,  Indonesian, Chinese (as in from China - best of all, by one of their own).
Some junk found in my garden. [ any difference from the things above ? ]
  How very strange...

Back to the museum,  when you go in and want to spend some time there (maybe more than 3~4 hours), you can leave your non critical items in a locker. It's only 20 or 50 cents, depending on the locker size. Get change from the ticketing/reception if needed. That saves you from lugging your bag around or knocking over anything you can't afford to pay in this lifetime. It's too late if you smashed that bust from Central Asia and then start negotiating for a discount from the valuation of US$ 500,000 !!  The lockers are just behind the reception area.

Main galleries start from the 2nd floor and have lots of audio visual guides. Your printed ticket serves as a barcode for the automated guide machines. Just slot part of it in and it will start yabbering at you.
Apsara dancers -- whoa ! Have they got the proportions right...
These automated guides are video screens (with a persons face) located at various places around the galleries. Quite neat really but a little loud for me. I prefer the quiet of the museum. There are guided tours at intervals throughout the day too. Just ask at the reception.

Don't forget to visit the other galleries accesses via the doors to the side of the main gallery. To the left and right of the main gallery there are interesting collections there sponsored by private sector. There are also galleries located on the upper and lower floors too. Many people tend to miss such exhibits because they are in a rush (tour groups normally) or they missed the signs in the dark.

The photos I've uploaded are a small portion of what's in there. And, of course these are the items that piqued my interest most.
You will have your own preferences and will find it difficult to see, much less appreciate everything in a single visit. I like reading the descriptions for the items and referencing the timeline charts with the information on the various empires in existence then. For people into general research, it is a good place to start.

Corny ? Waste of time ? - if you like this kind of stuff, you will find it pleasant. If this kind of thing puts you to sleep, then screw it - Funan IT Centre/Mall is just a short 5 min walk away from Empress Place. You can get your fill of the latest gadgets and computer junk there. Just remember to come back in time for your tour bus. If you are totally screwed & left behind and have no idea how to get back to your hotel, ask the info desk at Funan Centre.
(assuming you made it there). If all is lost, just jump into the Singapore River and end it. At least the spectators will get a cheap thrill.

I found the lighting somewhat inadequate for some of the exhibits. It's too gloomy to see details, even for some of the big pieces. Maybe the light was out of focus ? For the textile & paper exhibits, I can surmise that it would fade / damage the item with continuous exposure. But for the wood / lacquer / painted items ? Would it be so bad ? Soft light might give better visual impact than a tiny spotlight mounted 15m away on the roof. Night vision goggles ain't a solution either. Given that my low light vision is much better than many others, they must have found it annoying to try to see some of the items on display. Maybe a headlamp on my next visit.....

vances says:
A shame you couldn't take pictures of the Philippine Exhibit...truly "close, but no cigar"???
Posted on: Dec 08, 2009
Vlindeke says:
I'm travelling light, so, no statues in my luggage ;-)
Posted on: Nov 20, 2009
almond72 says:
Aaaw, not even with a 50% discount for TB members ? :P
Posted on: Nov 20, 2009
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Some artifacts found in Singapore.
Some artifacts found in Singapore.
Some junk found in my garden. [ an…
Some junk found in my garden. [ a…
Apsara dancers -- whoa !
Have the…
Apsara dancers -- whoa ! Have th…
Those are some serious earrings !
…
Those are some serious earrings !…
Lord Vishnu with Cakra, Conch in h…
Lord Vishnu with Cakra, Conch in …
Gold coins !
Gold coins !
Pocket sized items. Darn it ! Its…
Pocket sized items. Darn it ! It'…
Looks familiar ? A bit like that a…
Looks familiar ? A bit like that …
Ivory earrings. I wonder how they …
Ivory earrings. I wonder how they…
Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha
Ever feel that life is like a rat …
Ever feel that life is like a rat…
A scaled version of a Chandi typic…
A scaled version of a Chandi typi…
Ink tablets.
Ink tablets.
And I was wondering why the relati…
And I was wondering why the relat…
The glass ? balls used for the eye…
The glass ? balls used for the ey…
Somebody you dont want to find at…
Somebody you don't want to find a…
Taoist Pantheon.
Taoist Pantheon.
Effigy of deity from Taiwan
Effigy of deity from Taiwan
They say its a royal seat of some…
They say it's a royal seat of som…
I not sure what they symbolise, bu…
I not sure what they symbolise, b…
Good intricate tapestry / weave.
Good intricate tapestry / weave.
Heavy gold stuff.
Heavy gold stuff.
Headset for ladies.
Headset for ladies.
See anything you like ? Im just a…
See anything you like ? I'm just …
I have no idea why people want to …
I have no idea why people want to…
Another set of 12 ? Very good, Sir…
Another set of 12 ? Very good, Si…
The patterns on this carpet are ve…
The patterns on this carpet are v…
Thats the Indochine Cafe by the s…
That's the Indochine Cafe by the …
Dont forget your brolly when visi…
Don't forget your brolly when vis…
Aarti Lamp for worship
Aarti Lamp for worship
Brass Gauri Mask - Ancient India
Brass Gauri Mask - Ancient India
Brass Mask -Ancient India
Brass Mask -Ancient India
Brass Mask - Ancient India
Brass Mask - Ancient India
Brass Ornaments & Utensils - Centr…
Brass Ornaments & Utensils - Cent…
Bronze & Copperware - the precurso…
Bronze & Copperware - the precurs…
Bronze Statues - Buddhist imagery
Bronze Statues - Buddhist imagery
Bronze Statues - Buddhist imagery
Bronze Statues - Buddhist imagery
Bronzeware & Utensils
Bronzeware & Utensils
Buddhist Relic Caskets
Buddhist Relic Caskets
Carved Stone Pillar
Carved Stone Pillar