Asian Civilisations Museum to open 3 new galleries for Christian Art, Islamic Art, and Ancestors and Rituals

SINGAPORE -The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) will open three new permanent galleries for Christian Art, Islamic Art, and Ancestors and Rituals on Saturday (Dec 1).

These galleries, found on the second level of the museum, will show how systems of faith and belief spread across Asia, and how traditions of religious art adapted as a result.

Among the highlights are a 17th century sculpture of the Virgin Mary with possible Chinese, Filipino and Mexican influences; an ornate 19th century Quran made in Terengganu; and a hornbill carving by Sarawak’s Iban community.

The Christian Art gallery will be the first permanent museum space in the world dedicated to showcasing Christian works of art from across Asia that were made in or used in Asia.

Aside from the new galleries, the public can also expect a rotation of new exhibits at the Trade galleries and a new museum trail series.

This is one of the highlights for the museum’s ongoing Year of South-east Asia, which began with the exhibition Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City.

“South-east Asia has an incredible diversity of indigenous and migrant peoples, cultures, and faiths. It is a region that has played a pivotal role in global maritime trade and the spread of systems of faith and belief across Asia,”said ACM’s director Kennie Ting.

He added that visitors to the new galleries will enjoy “displays of many exquisite forms of decorative art, sacred art and ethnographic material from across the region”.

Launching them under the theme “South-east Asia in the World” is a nod to the museum’s heritage.

Mr Ting added: “The core of the museum’s collection was and continues to be the South-east Asian ethnographic collection that previously belonged to the former Raffles Library and Museum (today’s National Museum of Singapore) and which was collected during the colonial period.

“With these new and refreshed galleries, ACM places South-east Asia squarely at the heart of our museum’s overall curatorial narrative.”

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