Singapore (2003, 2008, 2016)

It's a common misconception that Singapore's history began in 1819 with the arrival of the British, who ruled the island until it became an independent republic led by Lee Kuan Yew in 1965. But Singpore's history began much earlier. Ancient Singapore was called "Temasek" which means "sea port" in Old Javanese. Founded in the late 13th century, Temasek flourished in the 14th century, in part because China's Yuan dynasty encouraged overseas shipping. Chinese merchants began arriving in Singapore to buy wood, cotton and hornbill casques. In return, they sold ceramics and foodstuffs. Excavations at Fort Canning in 1984 revealed that a palace was located on the hill in the 14th century. Temasek was a busy multicultural port, with traders arriving from Southeast Asia, China, India, and the Middle East. So profitable was the port that Thailand and the Majapahit kingdom in Java competed for its control.

Around 1405, nearby Malacca began trading extensively in the region, particularly with China. This led to a sharp decline in Temasek's influence and population. Temasek was soon absorbed into the Malacca kingdom. The capture of Malacca by Portugal in the 16th century led some traders to return to Singapore. [—Text above adapted from a display at the Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore, 2016]

Singapore skyline (more)

Fullerton Hotel


Esplanade and more

Science Museum

Science Museum

The Float, Marina Bay (more)

Helix Bridge

Marina Bay Sands hotel

Casino and resort (1, 2)

Waterfront view

Evening view (1, 2)

Evening, Marina Bay

Evening, Marina Bay

Evening, Marina Bay

Evening, Marina Bay

View from National Gallery

View from National Gallery

Esplanade theaters

Waterfront park

Supreme Court

Singapore Flyer (more)

Victoria Theater

Victoria Threater

Downtown and Boat Quay

Boat Quay (1, 2)

Boat Quay

Bars and restaurants


Food street

Main road (more)

Bar, Mosque St (more)

Hindu temple, Chinatown (1, 2, 3)



Chinatown edifice

Buddhist temple (more)


Prayer hall

The deities

The Buddha

Chanting monks (more)

Chanting devotees


Prayer wheel on the roof

Ornate statues

Laughing Buddha

Buddhist temple entrance

Little India

Mustafa store

Lunch, Murugan Idli shop (more)

Family outside a church

Global Indian School

Kids playing after school

Kent Ridge Park

Labrador Nature Reserve

Walking / biking path

Curvy buildings

Marina (more)

Posh condos

Bukit Chandu (info)

Remembering heroes

Cannonball tree flower

Port and harbor

Just Married (more)

The arts house at the old parliament

Clarke Quay from Fort Canning

Crepe ginger flower

Fort Canning remains

Atop the hill (more)

Lighthouse (1, 2)

The Sally Port (info)

Magnolia champaka (tree)

Singapore metro

Singapore metro


Biking, East Coast Park

Children's Park

Housing Development Board condos

Rain Tree

Gardens by the Bay

Sculpture (1, 2, info)


Supertrees (more)

Musical lights show

Posing woman

Flower dome, Gardens by the Bay

Bottle Baby sculpture (info)

National Gallery, Singapore

Exhibition of master potter Iskandar Jalil's works

Ceramic art

Exhibition room

Fluid designs in clay

A modern potter's wheel

Life by the River, by Liu Kang, 1975 (info)

Sarong-making shop, by Chuah Thean Teng, c. 1957, Batik (info)

Malay House, Malacca, by Mohamed Salehuddin, c. 1960 (info)

Untitled, by Ibrahim Abu Bakar, Undated (info)

Temple festival in Bali, by Adrien-Jean le Mayeur de Merpres, c. 1937 (info)

Kehidupan di Bali (Balinese Life), by Lee Man Fong, c. 1960s (info)

On Strike, by Tan Tee Chie, 1955 (info)

The Ferry, by Chen Wen Hsi, c. 1952 (info)

Returning from Market, by Cheong Soo Pieng, c. 1975 (info)

Painting Class, by Lim Yew Kuan, 1956 (info)

Potong Pasir Dairy Farmer, by Lee Boon Wang, 1958 (info)

Picking, by Tay Kok Wee, 1955 (info)

National Language Class, by Chua Mia Tee, 1959 (info)

Persecution, by Koeh Sia Yong, 1963 (info)

Here they come! by Koh Sia Yong, 1965 (info)

A special exhibition: Artist and Empire

Sir Charles Warre Malet, concluding a treaty in 1790 in durbar with the peshwa of the Maratha Empire, by Thomas Daniell, 1805 (info)

Colonel Mordaunt's cock match, by Johan Zoffany, c. 1784-86 (info)

'The secret of England's Greatness' (Queen Victoria presenting a Bible in the audience chamber at Windsor), by Thomas John Barker, c. 1863 (info)

Portrait of Rabindranath Tagore, by Jamini Roy, c. 1950 (info)

Santhal Girl, by Jamini Roy (info)

Woman holding a fan, by Raja Ravi Verma, c. 1895-1900 (info)

Portrait of a Maori (more)

Asian Civilizations Museum

Mother Goddess, N. India, Shunga period, 2nd-1st cent. BCE (info)

Mother Goddess, N. India, Maurya period, 3rd-2nd cent. BCE (info)

Linga with five faces, N. India, Gupta, 5th cent. CE (info)

Three scenes from the life of the Buddha, Gandhara, 3rd-4th cent. CE (info)

Gandhara, 3rd-4th cent. CE (info)

Emaciated Siddhartha
, Gandhara,
3-4th cent. CE (info)

Buddha teaching,
3rd-4th cent. CE (info)

Stele, China, Northern Qi
dynasty, 550-77 CE (info)

Celestial woman with a swan, India, 10th cent., Chandela dynasty (info)

Sarasvati, central India, 11th cent. (info)

The family of Shiva, Umamaheshwara, N. India, 9th cent. (info)

Bhairava, India (UP), 10th century (info)

Gateway bracket with four shalabhanjikas, N. India, 2nd cent. CE, Kushan period (info)

Three yakshas, India, Shunga-Kushan period, 1st BCE-1st CE (info)

Garuda, India, Gupta, 5-6th cent. (info)

Dancing Ganesha, India, MP, 10th cent. (info)

Hanuman, Cambodia, Angkor Borei, 8th cent. (info)

Jina Parshvanatha,
central India 10-11 cent. (info)

Painted ceramics, Banpo village, near Xi'an, 5,000 BCE (info)

Stamford Raffles, "founder" of Singapore

Objects from a Tang shipwreck, 9th century
(info1, info2)

Well-preserved 1200 year old ceramics
(1, 2)

Exquisite designs (more)

Swastika on gold plate

A special exhibition at the ACM on port cities, multicultural emporiums of Asia (1500-1900 CE, info)

"Man in angarkha,
woman in pano" (info)

"Brahmina woman" (info)

Calling card holder
made of ivory (info)

Chinese and foreign merchants in Canton (info)

View of Singapore from Mt. Wallich (more, info)

A richly evocative quote on port cities

Asian Civilizations Museum

Pictures of Singapore from 2003

City center

Boat Quay Restaurants


Orchid, botanical garden

Botanical garden

Jurong Bird Park

Jurong Bird Park

Little India Temple


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