Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Terracotta Warriors In Singapore

I have been a little too busy to blog these days, but that doesn't mean I haven't been out and about sussing out interesting things to do in Singapore. It has been a weekend of art and culture, with a visit to Asian Civilisation Museum (ACM) to view the special exhibition on Terracotta Warriors, and to Drama Centre to catch Dick Lee's Beauty Kings.

Asian Civilisations Museum at Empress Place

This special exhibition runs till 16 October 2011

I have always been fascinated by the terracotta warrior figurines and this is the closest I could get to see the real thing without having to make a trip to Xi'an, China. This is the first exhibition of the actual terracotta warriors to be held in Singapore and in Southeast Asia. With admission fee of only S$8, it is really good value for money.

At the entrance of the gallery leading to the actual terracotta exhibition, the works of artist Justin Lee titled 'Life After Death' set a stylish and dramatic tone. His work blends Western pop art with traditional Eastern figurines. A rather fun way to give life to historical figurines.

The terracotta army buried near the tomb of the First Emperor of China is perhaps the most important archaeological discovery of our time. Unearthed in 1974 outside Xi’an, the thousands of pottery soldiers and horses are striking works of art that tell us a great deal about early China.

Located on level 2, the exhibition gallery is not huge, but substantial enough to give a good explanation about the first emperor and his legacy. This exhibition features one hundred artefacts from Shaanxi province in China. Besides the 10 terracotta figures, the display contains important bronzes and jades from the Qin state before the time of the First Emperor, Shi Huangdi. The Han dynasty inherited the legacy of unified China, and charming terracotta figures from this later period show how the First Emperor’s tomb influenced later burials. Recent excavations have revealed a variety of objects, including painted warriors, acrobats meant to entertain the emperor, chariots and life-like birds. Many of these will be presented in the exhibition.

The exhibition catalogue (priced at S$24) offers pictures in full colour with interesting literature. I would recommend buying a copy at the gift shop before you proceed to view the exhibition. It would be a handy guide that you can refer to while looking at the artefacts. The museum also offers complimentary guided tours. Do enquire when you are purchasing your ticket.

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