Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Terracotta Warriors: Exhibition in Singapore

If there is an academic subject that I should be least linked to, it's history. The thing is, I have never had an affinity with history. It is an episode of pure memorisation (and torture, may I add).

Therefore, when it comes to exhibitions, I can probably spend 3 hours or more at some art museum. I love quirky pieces such as those shown at the Biennale in Singapore. But, when it comes to history museums, I normally step foot in them only if 1) it's free or inexpensive and 2) I'm very bored.

Today's the day that both criteria are fulfilled. Which explains my trip to the Asian Civilisations Museum. The museum has been opened at its current location since 2003. Why I've taken so long to visit this museum when I've hopped to the rest of the museums say something about my interest in history.

But, there's always a first for everything. I heard about the terracotta warriors and since it's the first time it's going to be exhibited in Singapore and sounds rather interesting, why not just go for it.To quote the pamphlet, this exhibition features one hundred artefacts from Shaanxi province in China. Besides terracotta figures, the display contains important bronzes and jades from the the Qin state before the time of the First Emperor.

But it's not just history, history and history. I was pretty captivated by the installation by Justin Lee. It's titled Life After Death, which shows "stylish terracotta warriors flanked by graceful fairy-like maidens armed with modern technologies."

There is also the iPhone app which you could download. Unfortunately, the application didn't really load in time (perhaps due to slow connection) and I had left by the time the application finished loading. There's free wifi at the museum by the way.

There are also random stamp stations around the museum for you to emboss a bookmark.

After the walk around the terracotta exhibition, I decided to have a walk around the museum. Honestly, here is whether the dreariness of a hot afternoon sets in. The voice from the interactive screens start lulling me to sleep.

No, but that doesn't mean that the exhibitions are not good. Quite to the contrary, this place is a perfect location for people interested in different aspects of Asia.

I just feel that the words in the explanatory booklets next to the exhibitions are excessive. I mean, yes they are informative. But I prefer the format of the terracotta exhibition, where you simply have a short introduction next to the exhibition itself. Too many words + dim lights create a conducive condition for sleeping.

Just a brief note on what else you can expect at the museum- information about the Singapore river (about trade and commerce at the Singapore River), South East Asia (religions, artefacts, textiles, performing arts), West Asia (religion) , China (Chinese culture, ceramics, paintings, calligraphies) and South Asia (religious artefacts).

The admission charges for this place is pretty cheap. It was free for me. There are many other forms of concessions so check if you qualify for any of them.

This is the perfect place for people interested in Asian culture, or history buffs, or people just finding an inexpensive way to spend your day.

Asian Civilisations Museum
1 Empress Place
Singapore 179555


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