Saturday, March 27, 2010

All That Glitters

It is as if we have not had enough of our quest for ancient artifacts, we found ourselves at the museum again this weekend.

It is most probably due to the wet weather that has restricted much of our plans for a weekend outings to indoors activities. It may very well be the fact that organizers bring the many world class exhibits here, in time for the March school holidays.

Either way, Wifey and I found ourselves back in another museum, this time at the Asian Civilsation Museum at Empress Place looking down and scrutinizing the many bejewelled artifacts from the mighty Mughal era.

Wifey was the most excited, anticipating our visit to the Treasury of the World, Jeweled Arts of India in the age of the Mughals exhibit this weekend, even though it will run all through June 2010.

I can imagine her excitement since it began in February, mainly because of 2 reasons...

For one, Wifey is very interested in history.

Always an "A" student in this subject, coupled with her interest in learning more about Islam since ancient times, this exhibit showcases the height of Islam thriving in India during the Mughal era - the opulence of the Mughal Empire as one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties the world has ever known.

And secondly, all that glitter, the bejewelled of everything, are actually gold! Wifey is passionate about ladies accessories that she actually ventured into making jewellery and subsequently going into business selling mostly handmade jewellery for a few years.

So this exhibition really struck a cord with her... she "booked" this weekend outing as the main highlight for this couple. I am excited for her and excited too to practice my skills at photography at every chance during an outing.

Mini Quran in jace cover with its gold case

Yes... Sonny was spared from this. He was more than happy to stay home. Thanks to the video presentation project he needed to do, as the nominated resident photographer and videographer of the class, and now the student exchange team, he is preparing it for the Indonesian students visit here in mid April.

It so happens, this weekend is the perfect time for our visit, as the museum is holding a Might Mughal weekend festival. Lots of activities, from dances to demonstrations relating to the era just outside the main entrance to the ACM building in the afternoon.

What is even better this weekend is the fact that there is no entry fee to this special exhibit, as well as entries to the other permanent exhibits!

Wifey and I spent hours at the museum mostly in awe, and most times on our separate ways...

No, we did not quarrel or anything like that, Wifey could not wait for me to finish taking pictures of every interesting subject I saw, and mind you, there were lots of intriguing subjects there... all 402 of them from ancient times.

Once in a while, I could see Wifey across the gallery, looking intently at an item, in awe at the fine craftsmanship of the bejewelled arts... the extend the Mughals went for a lavished life.

I have simpler taste and an objective for being there.

To me, all these items are fantasticly intricate and brilliantly produced but are just too over-the-top. Fit for a king, but are just too excessively lavished, even for a ruler of kingdoms.

My objective is to capture these intricate artifacts as an honour to the craftsmen and their intelligence and exceptional skills for producing these beautiful items, not the way of life the kings lived.

And I had a tough time meeting my objective as it takes a very steady hand to take long-exposure photography without a tripod. It will be dissapointing to bring home blurry images that cannot be used to share with others.

So I had to take them several times and taking my time doing so... the reason we went our separate ways at the exhibits. Meeting from time to time as we crossed paths, taking pictures of ourselves there.

Then again, it will be too imposing on the other visitors there with my setting up the camera and tripod, taking up walking space from them. Worst still, if they were to trip over my tripod in the darkened gallery.

Well, all that glitters in the dark gallery finally gave way to a beautiful afternoon, fresh air and dried ground when we walked out from the museum.

Before that, while at the museum's gift shop, Wifey was interested in an Islamic inspired 24 carat gold bracelet from Kuwait, with its geometric gold trimmings and black enamel settings for S$179.00. I wanted to buy her that gift since I got my profit sharing bonus. However, it was not meant to be hers...

The bracelet was just too big for her wrist when she tried it on. The salesperson could not give us confidence that the bracelet will not be damaged if we were to send it for alteration by an outside jeweller. Wifey did not want to take that risk and left a little dissappointed.

I cheered her up with a good dinner at Sakura, at the basement of Peninsular Plaza and account transfer of one grand to her savings. This is an annual thing that I do when I get my bonus but since the past two years had not been that good, the amount was not as much as yesteryears. Nonetheless, Wifey and I are grateful that we still get the bonuses.

Sonny got S$500 banked into his account while I got a S$10 third party 72 mm lens cap for my Canon EOS 450D dSLR camera. I lost the original cap for my EF-S 18-200 IS lens kit during an outing with my parents at the Singapore Zoo mid last year.

No, that will not be all for me. I am eyeing on Apple's iPad...

The rest of the money gets parked in our joint account for our future, for the rainy days.

Mini Quran set in jade cover with gold inlay and emeralds

Mini Quran golden case set in emeralds

Ceremonial shield in gold and set in emeralds

Human face with emeralds

Saddle-axe in steel and Arabic gold inlays

Steel dagger with golden handle & gold scabbard set in emeralds

Steel dagger with golden golden handle

Gold jewellery box set in emeralds

Turban ornamet in gold set with emeralds and pearls

Conch Shell in gold and set in emeralds

Gold ladies bracelet set with rubies & emeralds

Gold bracelet with animal motif

Gold dish set with rubies & emeralds

Golden lidded cup & saucer with champleve & painted enamels


  1. It is a bonus when there is no entry fee at the museum. We have some here that are free of charge and I think this is a good idea, enabling history to be accessed by all. I love the jewel pics...they are great.

  2. I agree with you; those things just seem too bejeweled to me. Pretty to look at, though.


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