National Museum of Singapore: Treasures of the World from The British Museum

[Media Invite]


The highly-anticipated blockbuster exhibition, Treasures of the World from the British Museum was officially opened by Guest of Honour, Minister Grace Fu at the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) on 4 December 2015.

In this exhibition, the British Museum has generously shared with us its treasured collection including items from the personal collection of Sir Stamford Raffles which has great significance to Singapore as we celebrate our Golden Jubilee. This blockbuster exhibition is the largest and most comprehensive show from the British Museum’s collection in Singapore to date. Besides visiting the exhibition, you can also enjoy public programmes such as workshops, curated tours, lectures by representatives from the British Museum and other historians, as well as theatre performances in the gallery. The exhibition catalogue and selected merchandise from the British Museum are also available for sale at the museum’s Museum Label shop.

This highly-anticipated exhibition from the British Museum in London encompasses more than two million years of abundant culture and history, and features relics from ancient civilisations and treasures spanning Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. From now till 29 May 2016, 239 exceptional objects and treasures are on display in this exhibition. You can get up close and personal with some of the world’s finest artefacts!

The oldest object in the exhibition is a stone handaxe from Tanzania made around 800,000 years ago, while the most recent artefact dates to 2013. Other iconic artefacts from the collection include two 11th-century chess pieces discovered on the Hebridean Island of Lewis, skilfully crafted brass plaques from the West African state of Benin, ancient jewellery from the Royal Cemetery at Ur in southern Iraq, and an exquisitely painted mummy board from ancient Egypt. Each object represents the cultural and artistic achievements of the civilisation it comes from, and collectively, the collection explores the enduring themes of life that connect people across the world, regardless of when or where they live.

Closer to home, the exhibition also includes items collected by Sir Stamford Raffles when he was in Southeast Asia, such as a Javanese mask and a kris and scabbard dating back to the early 19th century. Two artworks from Singapore’s national collection, Anthony Poon’s W – White on 2P Waves and Iskandar Jalil’s Blue Vessel have also been included to juxtapose the nation’s artistic development against global art movements in the 1980s.

The layout plan of the exhibition

The Modern World: Using the technique of using photomontage, Pakistani artiste Rashid Rana has composed a portrait of the 17th-century Mughul emperor Shah Jahan.

The Modern World: Cloth-like sculpture, which is constructed from aluminium tops and wrappings from discarded liquor bottles. Photo source: NMS

Asia: Seated Buddha and Standing Figure of the Buddha


Middle East: Astrolabe, Tankard, Helmet and Dagger with inlaid inscription 

Middle East: A Tablet from King Ashurbanipal's library and a Tablet with dedicatory inscription to the goddess Ninisia

Europe: Grave Relief depicts the idealised figure of a young Greek athlete

Europe: Bust of the Roman emperor Hadrian, who ruled from AD 117 to 138

Europe: Elaborate horizontal table clock with detachable alarm made in south Germany during the late 16th century

Africa: Mummy of an adolescent boy

Africa: Canopic jars of Neskhons, use to store the embalmed organs of the dead

Africa: Mummy-board


Africa: Woman's beaded bodice 

Treasures of the World from the British Museum also has two Young Explorers’ Zones which contain activity sheets and learning stations that enable children and their parents to explore and discover different objects from around the world that are presented in the exhibition.

Photo source: NMS


Treasures of the World from the British Museum will be held at the NMS from 5 December 2015 to 29 May 2016. Admission fees apply.


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