The Southeast Asian Ceramics Society organised an inaugural Exhibition at the University Art Museum, Singapore in 1971. This landmark exhibition consisted of 350 examples of Khmer, Annamese and early Thai pottery, drawn largely from the University collection built up by Mr William Willetts, the curator, who served as the first President of the Society. A substantial number of pieces also came from the collection of Don Sinclair and other Members of the first Council.
The historian Mr John Guy has noted that this “presentation of the then little known ceramic tradition of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam caused a stir amongst the oriental ceramic cognoscenti.” Furthermore, that “the Willetts pioneering Catalogue for the Society inspired a generation of younger scholars and stimulated the interest of government archaeological departments throughout Southeast Asia.” As a consequence, ceramic societies were to emerge in ensuing years in West Malaysia, Jakarta, Manila and Hong Kong, following the lead of the Singapore chapter.
The Society held 10 exhibitions in the period 1971-2009, and since 1999 has organised an annual William Willetts Lecture which is held immediately after the Society’s Annual General Meeting.
Click here for William Willetts Lectures since 1999.
In 2009, the Society celebrated its 40th anniversary. A new book entitled “Southeast Asian Ceramics: New Light on Old Pottery” has been published and an exhibition of the same name was held at NUS Museum, Singapore from 14 November 2009 to 5 September 2010.
In 2012, the Society reinforced its online presence through the digitisation of some of the Society’s publications. We’re very excited about putting these out-of-print as well as other relevant publications online! Do also connect with us on our Facebook page which we regularly update with our activities.
In 2019, the Society will be celebrating its 50th anniversary as Singapore celebrates its bicentennial. Special events include a series of educational lectures, a special exhibition of our past published works, and some field trips and special tours. Please return to this website for updated information as it becomes available.