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Old 27th May 2017, 04:57 AM   #1
rasdan
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Default Asian Civilisations Museum

I think Singapore is a country that is quickly becoming the “go to” country when it comes to Malay/Sumatran heritage resources. Their museums, particularly the Asian Civilisations Museum (which I haven’t visited unfortunately) houses numerous edged weapons collected with the said theme above. This in my opinion is the result of knowledge (and money) and most importantly passion of the people that are involved in building this collection. Kudos to those people. Not only the authorities, I can say even the collectors from that nation are mostly very well informed and very knowledgeable.

I am sorry if this is not news for you guys (it is for me), but below is a link to a website that shows the collections of some of the museums in Singapore. To see keris, you can select “Asian Civilisation Museum” and “Keris and Weaponry” from the pull down menu on the left side of the page. You can see that the collection is well documented and some has very interesting provenance. I just got to know that the naga keris keris below was actually collected in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Ok, enough of me ranting. Enjoy your visit below :

https://roots.sg/learn/collections/listing
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Last edited by rasdan : 27th May 2017 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 27th May 2017, 05:57 AM   #2
F. de Luzon
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Thanks for sharing, Rasdan. Very much appreciated!

Kind regards,

Fernando
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Old 27th May 2017, 12:33 PM   #3
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My pleasure Fernando..
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Old 27th May 2017, 03:53 PM   #4
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Thanks for the link Rasdan. New info or not, access to large collections like this is always a valuable thing. I do wish they had done a better job of photographing their collection though. Hard to see much detail in most of these images.
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Old 27th May 2017, 05:15 PM   #5
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You're welcome David. Yes, the picture is a bit inadequate for a somewhat satisfying assessment; I guess they needed to quickly take the pictures due to the high number of collection that they have.
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Old 27th May 2017, 08:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rasdan
You're welcome David. Yes, the picture is a bit inadequate for a somewhat satisfying assessment; I guess they needed to quickly take the pictures due to the high number of collection that they have.

Yes, they seem to have a nice sized collection. I wonder how many of them ever get displayed. Hopefully they keep at least a small selection of keris on constant display.
It is a bit disheartening that after keris all other weapons on the site are identified as either machete, dagger, knife or sword. I would think they would have better access to proper names such as mandau, barong and the like.

Last edited by David : 28th May 2017 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 28th May 2017, 02:57 AM   #7
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I've been to the Asian Civilizations Museum a few times over the years, when back in Singapore with my wife to visit her family. There's a gallery devoted to the arts of Indonesia and Malaysia, and there's always a good representation of keris on display. I believe they rotate the keris in and out of the gallery, as each time I've been there are different keris.

Although some of the other weaponry, such as the mandaus, are generically categorized as "machetes", I believe this is just based on some form of convention, not lack of knowledge on their part. In one particular example from the website, the mandau had the name "machete" but the catalog entry included a lengthy description of its purpose and cultural significance, starting with the proper name mandau. For example, some museums call claymores, katanas, and jians all three "swords", for ease of recognition by visitors.

Regarding quality of the images on the website, my guess is this is strictly a function of data usage. The photographs on the website are disappointingly low resolution (for detailed examination), but they appear to be properly lit, and carefully staged. They have 124,404 items in the digital collection, so you can see why image size could quickly become a problem of digital storage size.

Thanks for pointing out the digital collection, Rasdan, it's nice to know it's there. If you have the chance, I highly recommend visiting the Asian Civilizations Museum.
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Old 28th May 2017, 11:24 AM   #8
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You're most welcome Laowang. I am planning to go there soon!

David, I think with Laowang explanation on the way the collections. Also, I guess the machete are used to generalised the wide range of chopping weapons type in Borneo. The word machate probably simplify their inventory categories. But, yes, for web publishing it's better to have a slightly detailed name.
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Old 28th May 2017, 05:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rasdan
You're most welcome Laowang. I am planning to go there soon!

David, I think with Laowang explanation on the way the collections. Also, I guess the machete are used to generalised the wide range of chopping weapons type in Borneo. The word machate probably simplify their inventory categories. But, yes, for web publishing it's better to have a slightly detailed name.

Yes, Laowang is correct that when you open up the description correct names seem to be used for the various weapons.
I still think these weapons could have been photographed better for our viewing. Unfortunately it is not something museums in general seem to be very good at so i am not particularly calling just this museum to task. I do understand not taking up too much data space so i can see why files would be relatively small and there might not be any detail shots. However, if you are going to present just one image of a keris it would be best done with the keris out of the sheath pointed upwards and positioned next to the sheath and shot from directly from above so that the most realistic rendering of proportion and shape can be read in the photo. Unfortunately many of the keris they have photographed don't even reveal the blade at all.
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Old 28th May 2017, 06:54 PM   #10
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I agree with David's opinion about the quality of the pictures.
I looked at all the krisses (a very large collection which fortunately can be sorted in alphabetical order) and found that there are many similar pieces (krisses panjang for instance) but few exceptional or very rare krisses, am I too choosy?
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Old 28th May 2017, 09:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
I agree with David's opinion about the quality of the pictures.
I looked at all the krisses (a very large collection which fortunately can be sorted in alphabetical order) and found that there are many similar pieces (krisses panjang for instance) but few exceptional or very rare krisses, am I too choosy?
Regards

Well you have more patience than me Jean. I stopped looking after about 8 pages or so. I would agree that i didn't see anything particularly exceptional in what i could see from their collection, but i did only look through a small part of it. The photo that Rasdan shared from the site looks like a rather nice keris however, so i suspect they have a few more worth looking at in there.
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Old 1st June 2017, 10:10 AM   #12
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Hi Rasdan, I think you might want to defer your plan for a trip to ACM at this moment as currently the museum is under going major facelift and renovation. You might want to check with Dave Hankel on it's completion date or your trip will only ended up in disappointments.
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Old 5th June 2017, 10:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jentayu
Hi Rasdan, I think you might want to defer your plan for a trip to ACM at this moment as currently the museum is under going major facelift and renovation. You might want to check with Dave Hankel on it's completion date or your trip will only ended up in disappointments.


Hi Jentayu, Sure thing! thanks for the advice.
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