BY SCENE SHANG
LONG BEFORE RAFFLES ARRIVED IN SINGAPORE IN 1819, a long history of foreign trade was already established. Ming Dynasty blue and white porcelain from the 16th to 17th century were found in the Kallang River, indicating the presence of foreign trade.
Some of the Ming Dynasty porcelain artefacts found in Singapore would have looked like these pieces above - a vibrant and spontaneous brushwork style, done with freehand in blue on porcelain.
In return for precious Chinese porcelain, Singapore, then known as Temasek, would supply Chinese traders with rare hornbill casques and high quality lakawood.
Some of the traded porcelain may have been known as Swatow ware - a style of Ming Dynasty ware intended for the Southeast Asian market. The style was vibrant and spontaneous, where birds, animals, trees, flowers, water and landscapes were painted freehand. Some of these artworks also depicted trading ships.
"Dragon's Teeth Gate" from the 1818 Collection depicts everyone's favourite otters in the foreground of the scene at Dragon's Teeth Gate, a rocky outcrop said to have been a maritime navigational aid at the gateway to Keppel Harbour.
The 1818 Collection employs this vibrant and spontaneous style to illustrate scenery depicting local legends from Sang Nila Utama, the Dragon’s Teeth Gate and the Legend of Red Hill, set amongst local flora and fauna, some of which can still be found thriving in Singapore today.
In the "
Legend of Red Hill", dolphins play in the sea, while the coast spots remains of the banana tree trunks used to defend against swordfishes.
The 1818 Collection is a collection of porcelain plates, porcelain mugs and linen tea towels depicting legendary Singapore scenes with easter eggs of contemporary Singapore hidden within.
Hidden within the scenes, one may also find icons from contemporary Singapore, creating a subtle sense of wonder in relation to time, history and culture.
Exclusively available only at SCENE SHANG Raffles Hotel from 19th July. See you there!
SCENE SHANG Raffles Hotel
328 North Bridge Road #02-09
An ode to the old and a nod to the new.