Welcome to the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society (SEACS)

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, 19 August 2020, 7-8:30 pm

Members will receive an email with the invitation and ZOOM log-in one week prior to the event.

Alvin Chia and one of the treasures from the Belitung Wreck, now on exhibition at the Asian Civiisations Museum

Welcome to a special talk by former SEACS President (2008-2011) Alvin Chia, who will speak on how the Singapore Government acquired the coveted Tang Shipwreck treasures from the Belitung Shipwreck in 2005 against strong competition from museums in China and the Middle East.

The shipwreck was discovered in Indonesian waters in 1998 by a sea cucumber fisherman.  Between two monsoon seasons in 1998 and 1999, the treasures were recovered from the seabed of a coral reef. In between the two seasons, some artifacts were stolen but were heroically recovered.  Many were found in pristine condition having being protected by sand for over a thousand years. For more information, click here.

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.