Formed in 1969, the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society’s purpose is 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 both online and at programme events to hear talks by experts, exchange information, and to study and compare ‘pots’.

The Society organised its inaugural Exhibition at the University Art Museum, Singapore in 1971. This landmark exhibition featured 350 examples of Khmer, Annamese and early Thai pottery, drawn largely from the university’s collection built by its curator, William Willetts. A substantial number of pieces also came from the collections of Helen Ling, the society’s first president, Don Sinclair and other members of the first council.

The historian John Guy 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, “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 emerged in ensuing years in West Malaysia, Jakarta, Manila and Hong Kong, following the lead of the Singapore chapter.

A further 10 exhibitions were held between 1971 and 2009, and in 1999 the Society announced the launch of an annual William Willetts Lecture, to be held immediately after the Society’s Annual General Meeting.

In 2009, the society celebrated its 40th anniversary by publishing a work that encapsulated the progress made in the study of Southeast Asian ceramics (Southeast Asian Ceramics: New Light on Old Pottery) and arranging an exhibition of the same name held at the NUS Museum, Singapore.

In 2019, SEACS celebrated its 50th anniversary with an extensive series of programmes including a field trip to the kiln sites of Jingdezhen and Longquan, and an exhibition in the National Library of Singapore that featured representative ceramic items from each of the society’s exhibitions since 1969.

We look forward to our next fifty years.


John N. Miksic


Patricia Bjaaland Welch
CHIA (Alvin) Kiam Pheng


Andrew NAI


WANG Li-Ching


Marjorie CHU
Timothy Clark
GOH Geok Yian
Kenson KWOK
Mathew N. Welch

Honorary Auditors

Johanes H. Rizal
Audrey TOH

Exhibitions organised by the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society, Singapore

11th exhibition, 2019 – SEACS 50th Anniversary

10th exhibition, 2009 – Southeast Asian Ceramics: New Light on Old Pottery

9th exhibition, 1993 – Ceramics in Scholarly Taste

8th exhibition, 1991 – Spirit of Han: Ceramics for the Afterlife

7th exhibition, 1983 – Song Ceramics

6th exhibition, 1982 – Vietnamese Ceramics

5th exhibition, 1981 – Khmer Ceramics, 9th – 14th Century

4th exhibition, 1979 – Chinese Celadons and Other Related Wares in Southeast Asia

3rd exhibition, 1978 – Chinese Blue and White Ceramics

2nd exhibition, 1973 – Chinese White Wares

1st exhibition, 1971 – Ceramic Art of Southeast Asia

William Willetts Lectures

2010 Rose Kerr: “Chinese Ceramics made for export to Southeast Asia in the Victoria & Albert Museum”

2009 Professor Peter Y.K. Lam: “Putting Broken Pieces Together: Dating evidences for 14th – 19th Century Chinese Ceramic Finds in Singapore”

2008 Dr John Miksic: “Strange Discoveries: Mysterious Artefacts in Singapore”

2007 John Guy: “Asian Ceramics in Production and Trade in Southeast Asia’s ‘Age of Empires’”

2006 Professor Wang Gungwu: “Tribute and Trade: The Ming Dynasty”

2005 Heidi Tan: “New Insights on Rare Vietnamese Ceramics in the Asian Civilisations Museum Collection”

2004 Professor Kwa Chong Guan: “The Indianisation of Southeast Asia”

2003 Dr Kenson Kwok: “Blanc de Chine – the Hickley Collection”

2002 Mr Anthony Lin: “The Imperial Porcelains of the Kangxi Era”

2001 Mr Dorian Ball “Salvage from Shipwrecks – Recovering Antique Porcelain for Collectors”

2000 Mrs Jean Martin: “Chinese Blue and White Ceramics: Singapore 1978 in Retrospect”

1999 Mr. Christopher Frape: “The Jade Culture of Ancient Vietnam”

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