TANG Shipwreck & TRADE and the exchange of Ideas gallery – ACM, SG

Asian Civilisations Museum SG

There is a few new galleries and redesign being introduced to the Asian Civilisation Museum, Singapore as they undergo a remodelling to refresh the exhibitions. With the current Phase 2 being completed in April 2016. There will be new galleries opening gradually and old ones being renewed. Meanwhile, this article showcases snippets of the 2 galleries in the newly revamped ACM SG.

TANG Shipwreck (Level 1, ACM)

TANG Shipwreck

As I step in through the doorway next to the cafe located next to the gallery, I am welcomed by a wave form made with porcelain bowls along with the ship model (the exact shipwreck that was found back in 1998) of the Tang Dynasty 600s era – found from the TANG shipwreck.

This gallery of porcelain and silverware among other items were discovered on the edge of the Java Sea in 1998. It contains a remarkable cargo of more than 60,000 ceramics products produced in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), as well as luxurious objects of gold and silver. The ship was likely en route back to the Middle East from China passing by the Java Sea.

As I step into the gallery itself, the big jars with some coral or barnacle like calcified formation as seen in the jars above.

Walking deeper in to the gallery, where there is more displays of the various items recovered from the 60,000 pieces of ceramics.

The items displayed shows how well they had been preserved and resorted as amount of efforts put into restoration took years. Also the reason behind acquiring this piece of history was also explained in the exhibition itself. It is definitely worth a visit as it gives a rich history to Singapore’s past as a trading port.

The next gallery – TRADE and the exchange of Ideas; which I visited is located next to the TANG Shipwreck gallery on the same level.

TRADE and the exchange of Ideas (Level 1, ACM)

This gallery showcases the theme of TRADE and exchange of ideas, between Singapore, China and the Islamic world back in the older eras (1300s-1910s) between the various Empires and Ming Dynasty. The relics on display in the gallery were from various archaeological excavations for a 100 days (Jan to April 2015) – in front of the lawn at Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, where the discoveries displayed reveal a lively commercial centre of Singapore (then Temasek) in the 14th century.


A walk through the gallery there display many different items including a serious of containers for carrying goods – similar to the one found in the TANG Shipwreck exhibit (but in more polished colour) we learn about the various functions of the ceramic jars during the 14th century. Ceramic was also a sought after item of trade from the Middle East.

IMAG2529Highlight: Chinese blue and white porcelain was especially prized at the Islamic courts in the Middle East. Major collections of porcelain from the Yuan and Ming Dynasty can still be found in Istanbul, Turkey and Ardabil Shrine (Iran).

There are many items on display in the gallery. And each tells a story about the era’s trade between the various Asian countries from China, Southeast Asia to Middle East and Europe.

It will take a good 2-3 hours to read each panel and understand more about the rich history behind these history relics and antiques which gives a rich curated history.

Website | Location: Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place Singapore 179555

*FREE Admission to this showcase on Friday evenings 6pm-9pm.


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