National Museum of Singapore


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From the History of Singapore Gallery:


William Farquhar


– Silver epergne – “presented to William Farquhar, the first British Resident of Singapore, as a parting gift from the Chinese community when he left the island in 1823.  The ornamental centrepiece for the table had 3 branches to hold candles and a centre crystal bowl for fruit.  It was made by famous London silversmith, Rundle, Bridge & Rundle.  This gift signifies Farquhar’s popularity with the Asian communities in Singapore in the 1820s.”

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– Ning Yeung Wui Kuan bell/wooden decorative board (19th century)

“These objects once belonged to the Ning Yeung Wui Kuan, the oldest Chinese clan association in Singapore.  Set up in 1822 by clansmen from the Taishan district of Guangdong, China, it served as a meeting place and ancestral hall for Cantonese immigrants to Singapore.  Just as European merchants had mercantile associations, so too did early Chinese immigrants to Singapore form their own groupings and support networks.”


Revere Bell (1843)

“This bell was cast in the Revere foundry in Boston in the tradition of the famous American patriot, Paul Revere.  His daughter, Maria, was married to Joseph Balestier, the first American Consul in Singapore (1837-52).  She presented the bell to the first Church of St Andrew in Singapore, on the condition that it would sound the curfew every night at 8pm to remind sailors in the town to return to their ships and to alert residents to be watchful after dark for robberies and assaults.”

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– Tan Tock Seng, the benefactor

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– Seah Eu Chin, the Gambier King

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– The abacus


– The wine


– The wash basin


– Smoking equipment


– Wooden lounge chair

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– Mode of transport…


– Door


– Chinese Massacre War Trial Silver Trophy presented to Major F. W. Ward

“The trophy is linked to the “Chinese Massacre” trial held in the Victoria Memorial Hall on 10th March 1947 by the British military authorities in Singapore to prosecute seven senior Japanese military officers accused of involvement in the Sook Ching (  Major Frederick Ward was the trial’s chief prosecutor.  His opening address contained the first official indictment in Singapore of the Sook Ching as a war crime.  It also mentioned the number of those executed as at least 5,000 individuals.  The figure was derived from a Japanese army committee report prepared in October 1945 which was chaired by Colonel Ichiji Sugita, a staff officer with the Japanese 25th Army which invaded Malaya and Singapore in 1941-42.  This report had earlier been submitted as an exhibit at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East held in Tokyo in 1946 when the Allies conducted a trial of major Japanese war criminals there.  The number of Sook Ching victims thus became an “officially-cited” figure.  It was however contested by rival claims of the Sook Ching dead in the vernacular Chinese newspaper.  The trial saw emotional recounting by witnesses of the Sook Ching.  At the close of the trial, 2 Japanese officers, Kawamura and Oishi were sentenced to death while the others were sentenced to life imprisonment.  After the trial, Ward returned to civilian life in Bradford, Yorkshire.”

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– Food cabinet


– Proclamation of Malaysia

“This is a copy of the Proclamation signed by Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, on 16 September 1963.  The agreement was reached between the Federation of Malaysia, the United Kingdom, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore.  It proclaims that Malaysia is “an independent and sovereign democratic state founded upon liberty and justice, ever seeking to defend and uphold peace and harmony among its peoples and to perpetuate peace among nations.”  This Proclamation was reproduced in the official languages of English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.”


– Merger and your future (1961)

“Booklets like this were published in all four languages by the Singapore government to convince people of the benefits of Merger, as outlined by its leaders.

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From the Living Gallery:

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– Hand puppet stage setting


– Headgears of opera singers

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– Opera costumes and props


– Hand puppets


– Hair ornaments (1930-60s) made of glass and copper alloy.  Phan Wait Hong Collection

“To maintain its appeal, costumes and accessories used in Chinese opera were made with materials used in contemporaneous fashion.  During the pre-war years, for example, sequined opera costumes became popular, following the trend set by troupes in Shanghai.  During the post-war period, opera performers wore diamante headdress.  Later, light bulbs were added to Cantonese opera costumes for increased glamour.”

5 thoughts on “National Museum of Singapore”

  1. Thank you Judy…very interesting ❤

  2. Some very interesting information here…loved the 1950’s dresses and the other costumes..I did a lot of costume/clothing photos in the Athens Museum…really enjoy your ramblings.

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