NUS Museum Exhibitions

From the Ashes
Reviving Myanmar Celadon Ceramics 

9 February - 30 December 2017
Archaeology Library, NUS Museum

Free Admission.

From the Ashes: Reviving Myanmar Celadon Ceramics introduces the ash glazed wares produced by Myanmar potters in the 15th century and the current attempts to revive and develop this tradition. Archaeological investigations in Lower Myanmar in the 1990s revealed historical kiln complexes specialised in making greenware (celadon). Identical wares uncovered on 15th century shipwrecks in Southeast Asian waters and at land sites in the Persian Gulf suggest that Myanmar celadon was commercially distributed.

These discoveries have prompted the Myanmar Ceramic Society to introduce the technique of ash glazing to invigorate the contemporary pottery industry for which unglazed earthenware is the primary product. The current experiments include a compound known as borax to lower the melting point of the glaze, resulting in ash glaze pottery which can be fired at a lower temperature. The new wares are named 'celabon', derived from 'celadon', which inspired the development, and 'borax'.

Exhibition Brochure

[Image: Detail of Head of a high ranking official, greenware, 8.2 x 4.9 x 5.2 cm. Collection of Myanmar Ceramic Society]

Radio Malaya
Abridged Conversations About Art 

South & Southeast Asian Gallery, NUS Museum

Free Admission.

Radio Malaya: Abridged Conversations About Art follows an earlier project Between Here and Nanyang: Marco Hsu's Brief History of Malayan Art (2013 - 2016) and continues to proceed with ways in which the University's permanent collection may be read in relation to writings on art and cultural history. It examines lines of inquiries that are predicated by various practices, institution-making, scholarship and nation.

As a backdrop to the evolving discussion on Malayan culture which Hsu was part of, the exhibition introduces selected writings by T.K. Sabapathy and S. Rajaratnam, the former pertains to Southeast Asian art historiography, and the latter a call for a cultural history that forms part of a shaping of community and nation. These frames provide ways to consider the Museum's collection whose collecting histories may be associated with Malaya's period of formation, and the evolving project of art history.

Exhibition Brochure

[Image: Gallery impression by Geraldine Kang for NUS Museum.]

Ng Eng Teng: 1+1=1

Free admission
Ng Eng Teng Gallery, NUS Museum

This exhibition takes, as its point of departure, the "geometric" series 1+1=1 produced by artist Ng Eng Teng as a means to re-read the artist's practice. 1+1=1 has not received, as yet, critical attention in the existing literature, with past efforts by art historians and curators focused on a reading of Ng's practice through the changing figure or figurations of the body. Presented with excerpts from a conversation between the artist Ng Eng Teng and art historian Constance Sheares, this exhibition is an attempt to prompt a reading of Ng Eng Teng through the motifs of spacing, difference and one-ness.

[Image Credit: Ng Eng Teng, untitled sketch, date unknown.]

Resource Gallery


Free admission
NUS Museum 

Functioning as an open-storage, the Resource Gallery provides an encounter with the NUS Museum’s collections and their histories. Objects are organized to accommodate material categories, area classifications, as well as contingencies of collecting and its strategies, having their roots in the shifting curatorial positions and museum practice since the mid-1950s: with the formation of the University of Malaya Art Museum in 1955; and at the Nanyang University, the Lee Kong Chian Art Museum in 1969; in each occasion contingent to questions of its day.

Focus and methods across these periods evolve or differ, but if continuity is to be seen within the broader motif of “…the dignity that comes with cultural independence”, how do we begin to productively and contemporaneously invest into the interplay between objects and their material agency, predicaments of collection, and potential points of entry; and as such to invite and sustain trajectories both enduring and inflected.


Preserve/Conserve/Restore: Studies at 157 Neil Road

NUS Baba House, 157 Neil Road

Free Admission

Preserve/Conserve/Restore: Studies at 157 Neil Road is an initiative which seeks to tap the under explored potential of 157 Neil Road as an asset for engaging with the disciplines of urban development and technical conservation of built heritage. 

Three studies are presented to kick start the project – Archaeology, Architectural Paint Analysis and Land Development. The project is envisaged to span a period of three years, during which students, researchers and industry professionals are invited to propose ways of engaging with 157. In Preserve/Conserve/Restore, the gallery is repurposed as a laboratory in which a few studies run simultaneously. Materials presented may include field notes, test results, illustrations, images and artefacts. It is a workspace in a constant state of flux as materials are added or modified as fresh data is revealed from each investigation.

Chinese Art Collection from the Lee Kong Chian Museum
Lee Kong Chian Gallery

Free Admission

The Lee Kong Chian gallery features the Chinese Art Collection and Export Ceramics from the Lee Kong Chian Museum. The permanent display is supplemented by ceramics from from the South and Southeast Asian Collections and the archaeological collection of Dr John Miksic. These exhibits are complemented by temporary exhibitions, conceived to engage the permanent collection critically.

The Chinese Art collection consists of bronzes, ceramics and paintings, gathered to represent the expansive history of Chinese art. The nucleus of this collection was established and developed at the Nanyang University in the 1970s with significant expansion in the 1980s under the newly inaugurated National University of Singapore (NUS).

This permanent display of Chinese Art focuses on Chinese ceramics and its development, categorising objects in relation to centres of productions and periods. A selection from the collection is featured in Collecting Histories, presented within the main gallery in open-storage format alongside ceramics collected by the then University of Malaya and University of Singapore. Collecting Histories comprises Southeast Asian and Chinese ceramics sourced from the region and mostly acquired between 1955 and 1973 - a period significant in the development of Southeast Asian art and ceramics as a field of study - led by the scholarship and research of the successive curators of the University of Malaya Art Museum, Michael Sullivan (1955-1960) and William Willetts (1963-1973). The third permanent component to the gallery is the Sherd Library, which presents a selection of archaeological materials from the collection of Dr. John Miksic, a living accumulation of an archive developed through his extensive work across the region since the late 1970s.

[Image: Gallery impression, Ways of Seeing Chinese Art, NUS Museum, 2012]

NUS Baba House

157 Neil Road, Singapore 088883

Visits are by appointment only.

Visitors are required to sign up in advance for heritage tours 
which fall on Mondays 2pm - 3pm, 
Tuesdays 6.30pm - 7.30pm, Thursdays 10am - 11am & Saturdays 11am - 12pm.

For enquiries, please visit
call [65] 6227 5731

Baba House is a heritage house which facilitates research and learning about the Peranakan community and its evolution. It exhibits the community’s material culture in a domestic context, providing the unique experience of visiting a Straits Chinese family home dating back to the early 20th century. The Baba House aims to promote a wider appreciation of the Peranakan identity, history and culture, as well as architectural traditions and conservation efforts in Singapore. The Gallery on the third floor hosts temporary exhibitions featuring various Peranakan themes.