S’pore exhibits 140 rare artefacts of Indian traditional craft

Singapore: An exhibition of some 140 Indian rare traditional artefacts, some dating back to 5,000 years, opened in here today with a minister urging Singaporeans to visit it and witness the evolution of artistic and crafting traditions across generations.

The highlight of the exhibition is a collection of rare artefacts from the Indus Valley Civilisation loaned by the National Museum of India.

Each piece tells a story and will fascinate with its exquisite designs, including elaborate ancient Indus and Brahmi scripts and familiar motifs in Indian crafts such as the lotus and the mango, said the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) which is hosting the exhibition till 30 June.

The IHC has engaged 15 expert crafts people from India to offer visitors an opportunity to witness ancient crafts being practiced up close, through fortnightly demonstrations.

Some of the ancient craft traditions include bidri – a craft that has its beginnings in the 14th and 15th centuries – where artists etch intricate designs and calligraphy on metal surfaces before filling them in with fine silver wires.

They will also demonstrate ancient skill of leather puppet making, which are then used in shadow puppetry performances of great Indian epics such as the Ramanyana.

The annual exhibition is themed: Symbols and Scripts: The Language of Craft.

The IHC Culture Fest 2017, being held along the exhibition, explores the theme of Rasa, or aesthetics, in Indian tradition.

“Traditional craftsmanship embodies practices that have been passed down from our ancestors. This special exhibition at the Indian Heritage Centre showcases rare artefacts that represent the evolution of artistic and crafting traditions across generations,” Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said yesterday during the launch of the exhibition.

“I encourage Singaporeans to visit this exhibition and learn more about this important part of our intangible cultural heritage,” said Fu.

“Through the artefacts featured in the exhibition, we celebrate the rich and diverse heritage of the Indian community in Singapore, as well as that of the larger global Indian diaspora,” elaborated Trudy Loh, Director of Heritage Institutions at the National Heritage Board, parent group of IHC.