Welcome to the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society (SEACS)

The Southeast Asian Ceramic Society was founded in 1969 in Singapore 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’.

Our September speaker was Heidi Tan, well-known to many SEACS members as a former curator at the Asian Civilisations Museum (Singapore)

On 23 September, Dr. Heidi Tan shared with us some of her recent research findings on Buddhist monastery collections in Myanmar. Gifts have been stored and displayed at sacred sites in Myanmar for millennia as they have elsewhere within the Buddhist world. Her talk included information on how temples manage these ever-accumulating collections, and how these objects are kept ‘activated’ by curators and devotees. Her talk was recorded on video and will be available on demand soon to SEACS members.

The Oriental Ceramic Society (founded in 1921) celebrates its Centenary in 2021

SEACS congratulates the OCS on its centenary, which is being marked by a major exhibition at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London: Collectors, Curators, Connoisseurs: A Century of the Oriental Ceramic Society. The exhibition will run from 15 October – 11 December 2021.  A Study Day will be held in conjunction with the Exhibition on 13 November.

Their beautiful catalogue is available by mail order (at a special discount for SEACS members); click the cameo of the flyer (to the right) for more details on how to order your copy.

More Events Coming October-December 2021

Here’s a sampling of our line-up for the coming months:

Former SEACS President Patricia Welch will share how she researched and wrote the society’s history for its 50th anniversary (this event hosted by the National Archives on ZOOM–open to the public on 30 September, sign up here); Overseas member Philip Cheong will speak to SEACS members on silver-mounted ceramics on 28 October; and Dr. Alex Giang, who is based in Vietnam will share the results of their latest excavations in November. 

Don’t miss these exciting upcoming members’ sessions plus a full library of former video-recorded talks (coming soon). Join SEACS today.

CERAMICS 101: 12 Sessions on Chinese & Asian Ceramics

Our newly finished 12-session introduction (held on ZOOM) introduced the ceramics of the region including China, Southeast Asia, and Japan.  

All the sessions were recorded and will be available to members. Why not join today and participate in all the regular programmes SEACS offers throughout the year? 

Details as to how to access the recordings from ‘Ceramics 101’ will be sent to all members shortly.

Shipwrecks of Southeast Asia!

Next time you come across a reference to a shipwreck and aren’t quite sure which one (or where or when) it was, just click Resources: Shipwrecks of Southeast Asia (on the menu above) and you’ll find our handy quick reference of the most important shipwrecks of SEA (with details of their cargos, especially if they included ceramics). Search away!

Start here to learn about Southeast Asian Ceramics:

Benefits to Joining the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society (SEACS):

  1. Monthly programmes held on ZOOM with both local and international experts on a wide variety of programmes related to ceramics and collecting. See our line-up of current and past programmes here.

  2. For local members (Singapore or regionally-based), two or three hands-on ‘handling sessions’ to learn how to identify correctly the ceramics you may own or be considering purchasing

  3. For local members, an annual ceramics and book sale, featuring items de-accessioned from members’ collections, plus many hard-to-find, out-of-print books on ceramics 

  4. For all, access to an extensive online collection of relevant articles and research materials related to ceramics. Begin exploring here: RESOURCES and SEACS PUBLICATIONS.

  5. Click here for an application form

  6. SEACS also sponsors a number of annual student memberships for full-time university and graduate students who have a professional interest in the study of ceramics. Click here for the application form.

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.