The Southeast Asian Ceramic Society was founded in 1969 to widen appreciation and acquire knowledge of the ceramic art of China and countries adjacent to China, especially those of Southeast Asia. To pursue this aim, members meet for periodic discussions, to hear talks by both local and international experts, and to study and compare ‘pots’.
Next Members' Only Event: Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 7-8:30 pm
Members will receive an email with the invitation and ZOOM log-in three weeks' prior to the event.
A Southern Song brush washer
We’ll open the meeting with a short introduction on the subject of ‘wenren ceramics’ (or those ceramics that might have been used or appreciated in a Chinese scholars’ studio), reminding us of the Ming scholar Wen Zhenheng’s advice on ‘vessels and utensils’ in his famous work, Superfluous Things. Five or so Council members will then share a selected piece with you, joined by one or two guest presenters. We can expect a range of ceramics: brush washers to ‘playthings of the literati’, from members’ collections or familiar museum galleries.
WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO...
We organised our first exhibition at the University of Singapore Art Museum in 1971. This landmark exhibition consisted of 350 examples of Khmer, Annamese and early Thai ceramics, drawn largely from the university collection, curated by Mr William Willetts, who was the museum’s curator at the time. A substantial number of pieces also came from the collections of our first president, Mrs. Helen Ling, and other early members including Don Sinclair, Dr. & Mrs. Earl Lu, K. T. Goh, S. R. Parker, Professor & Mrs. K. J. Ratnam, and others.
The historian 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 holds an annual William Willetts Lecture, held immediately after the Society’s Annual General Meeting. Click here for a list of our distinguished William Willetts lecturers since its inauguration in 1999.
The Society reinforces its online presence through the digitisation of some of its publications. You will find them on our publication pages.
In 2019, the Society celebrated its 50th anniversary, the same year Singapore commemorated its bicentennial. Join us as we enter our sixth decade. Members needn’t be collectors, just interested in the various roles ceramics play in history, trade and culture. We are open to all from beginners to academics to specialized collectors.
You can connect with us on Facebook, where our activities, many open to the public, are updated on a regular basis.