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A cooperation with Maison Mugen

Maison Mugen, a local start-up jewellery designer, is exhibiting their debut collection this March and will also house a small selection of objects from our collection featuring heritage crafts of Asia.

Venue: Design Orchard, 250 Orchard Road, Singapore 238905, 12/03/2024, 12.00 - 21.00

Jali metal craft, meaning "net" in Urdu, transforms metal into intricate, decorative screens. Skilled artisans meticulously cut geometric, floral, or calligraphic designs into sheets of brass, copper, or other metals. This ancient Indian art form, linked to the Mughals, adorned palaces and temples, offering both stunning visuals and practical functions like ventilation and privacy. Today, jali metal craft adds a touch of cultural heritage and exquisite artistry to modern homes and continues to inspire contemporary designers. 

A betel box, India, early 20th century, silvered brass (S$850)

With a history stretching back over 3,000 years, Chinese embroidery boasts a rich tapestry of artistry. Early examples, found in tombs, showcase intricate silk stitching, often depicting mythical creatures and auspicious symbols. Throughout dynasties, embroidery techniques and materials like silk floss and gold thread evolved. Renowned for its delicate stitches and vibrant colors, it adorned imperial clothing, artwork, and everyday items, reflecting both cultural and artistic trends. Today, Chinese embroidery remains a treasured art form, passed down through generations, captivating the world with its beauty and cultural significance.

A Rank badge, China, late 19th century (S$950)

The art of painting on mica in India dates back centuries, possibly to the Mughal era (16th-19th centuries). Mica, a naturally occurring mineral with a light-catching iridescence, offered a unique canvas. Artists used tempera or watercolor paints, often depicting religious figures, court scenes, or floral motifs with delicate brushwork. Though historically concentrated in regions like Bihar and Rajasthan, mica paintings faced decline in the 20th century. Today, a growing appreciation for their beauty and skilled craftsmanship is leading to a revival of this art form.

A painting in mica, India, 19th century (S$750)

Bidriware, from Bidar, India, is a metalworking art form known for its dark grey zinc alloy base. Artisans delicately inlay intricate silver designs onto the surface, creating a captivating contrast. These beautiful objects, often hookah bases, vases, and jewelry boxes, showcase remarkable craftsmanship and are treasured for their decorative elegance.

A bidri spitton, India, 18th-19th century (S$580)

The qilin, a mythical creature from Chinese lore, is often called the "Chinese unicorn." It symbolizes good luck and embodies benevolence. This deer-like creature, adorned with a single horn, appears with the birth or death of wise rulers and sages. It treads gently, avoiding harm and fostering prosperity.

A pair of roof tiles representing Qilins, 20th century (S$650)

Coconut carving in Southeast Asia has a rich history dating back centuries. Early evidence suggests its presence in the Philippines by the 10th century, with islanders crafting utilitarian objects like bowls and cups. Over time, the practice spread across the region, evolving into a diverse art form. Skilled artisans in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam began creating intricate decorative items like figurines, masks, and jewelry, showcasing their cultural and religious beliefs. 

 A rare Kashkul (beggar's bowl), Indian ocean, 19th century (S$880)

Porcupine quill boxes, a unique Sri Lankan art form, boast a rich history dating back over 800 years.

Early examples, crafted during the Kotte Kingdom (1415-1597), were often associated with royalty and nobility. These intricate boxes, adorned with geometric and floral patterns, served as treasuries for storing precious jewelry, betel leaves, and other valuables. 

The craft flourished under the patronage of subsequent rulers, particularly during the Kandyan Kingdom (1592-1815). Skilled artisans honed their techniques, incorporating increasingly complex designs and incorporating precious materials like ivory and gemstones, those boxes becoming prized possessions and coveted trade items.

Following the British colonization in the 19th century, the popularity of porcupine quill boxes declined. However, the craft experienced a revival in the 20th century, with artisans adapting traditional techniques to contemporary tastes.

A Porcupine quail box, Sri Lanka, early 20th century (S$250)

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