SINGAPORE – The artefacts featured in a book launched by the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) on Tuesday (June 7) illustrate the presence – and power – of cross-cultural influences, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
“At a time when there is increasing divisiveness in the world, such perspectives are all the more valuable,” he added.
“The masterpieces are magnificent works of art, but their value is not just in their beauty. Just as important, they help to illustrate the power of connections and openness.”
He highlighted several masterpieces featured in the book, such as a mounted incense burner in the shape of a horse that was made in Europe in the 18th century.
It combines materials from all over the world – Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquer, gilt bronze from Europe, and even a piece of red coral from under the sea, he said.
Mr Heng added that the masterpieces are a timely reminder that openness is critical in helping people form a deeper understanding of the diverse traditions and heritage of all civilisations, and that it enriches everyone’s lives.
He was speaking at the launch of the 100 Masterpieces of the Asian Civilisations Museum book at the Singapore Book Fair 2022 at the National Library. The event, organised by SPH Media Trust’s Chinese Media Group, is held from June 4 to 12.
The book, which is in Chinese, has five volumes with masterpieces grouped into the themes of faith, love, beauty, purity and hope.
It was written by the ACM’s Mandarin guides with the help of its curators and was vetted by Lianhe Zaobao’s editorial team.
The ACM said it hopes readers will have a deeper understanding of the museum and interest in its collection of masterpieces.
Mr Heng said in Singapore diversity and openness are core values as it is a multicultural, multiracial and multireligious society.
“This has offered us a unique vantage point to understand the connections between cultures and civilisations in Asia, and between Asia and the world,” he noted.
“So let us continue to remain open, build on our diversity, and create an even more vibrant and prosperous region in the years ahead,” he added.