The Asian Civilisations Museum celebrated a major milestone on Saturday, 4 April 2020, with the unveiling of its third-floor galleries, marking the completion of the museum’s multi-year refresh as Singapore’s museum of Asian antiquities and decorative art.
The third-floor galleries are focused on decorative art, and are collectively themed Materials and Design. The two new galleries, Fashion and Textiles, and Jewellery, together with the refreshed Ceramics gallery, comprise a display of over 300 precious and finely crafted masterpieces, telling stories of Asian identities, histories, and cultures.
The new galleries are literally the crowning glory of the museum, housing our most visually captivating pieces. Even as the visitor admires pieces displayed, we hope that he or she also gains a better understanding of the questions surrounding culture and identity. Fashion and jewellery are markers of community and personal identity whether in historical times, or today. For example, the ways in which individuals from a wide range of communities choose to clothe and adorn themselves are more than just demonstrations of vanity, they are nuanced reflections of identity. At the same time, how people choose what they wear is impacted by and emblematic of a larger social context, and a particular time and place, very much like today. ~ Kennie Ting
The Fashion and Textiles gallery presents a diverse range of fashions and textiles through periodically changing displays, showing how identities and cross-cultural exchanges are revealed through dress. Because of the light-sensitive nature of textiles, the light is kept low, and displays will change about once a year.
In its first display, Fashion Revolution: Chinese dress from the late Qing to 1976, the museum presents 40 stunning examples of Chinese dress, including rare, elaborate dragon robes, early styles of the iconic qipao, and a zhongshan zhuang – otherwise known as the “Mao Suit”. The chronological display reflects a century of drastic political, economic, and socio-cultural changes in China and the world, and how those affected sartorial trends and choices.
The Jewellery gallery will be the first permanent gallery in the world to spotlight island Southeast Asian jewellery, exhibiting its varied and complex styles, forms, and uses through a showcase of objects from the Neolithic period to the 20th century. The gallery illustrates how jewellery is present at every stage of life, and shares an intimate relationship with its wearer, functioning beyond the aesthetics of individual pieces.
Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum
When: 4 Apr - 31 Dec 2020,