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Volume 50 – Number 4

July/August 2019

In order to better reflect Singapore’s identity as a multicultural trading hub and port, the island city-state’s Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) has recently overhauled both its collecting strategy and display. Instead of a regional approach, the galleries are now organized by theme—Trade, Faith and Belief, and Materials and Design—thereby emphasizing interconnectedness and exchange instead of boundaries and division. Director Kennie Ting introduces the revamped ACM, while the curators explain the different galleries. Liu Yang expands on the ceramics in the ACM’s Tang Shipwreck gallery with an article on the flower and bird motifs on the Changsha bowls. Continuing with Chinese art, Chang Qing takes an in-depth look at a Qing dynasty lacquer vase in the Crow Museum of Asian Art depicting scenes from the life and legends of Confucius—an unusual subject for a work in this medium and based on scenes from a painting or book.

The other articles in the issue are devoted to Japanese art. Monika Bincsik shares highlights from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition ‘Kyoto: Capital of Artistic Imagination’, while Meher McArthur examines woodblock prints by Yōshū Chikanobu (1838–1912) in the collection of Scripps College—of particular interest because of Chikanobu’s close personal relationship with the changes taking place in Japan at the time. James Lancel McElhinney discusses the role and symbolism of sword guards, and Peter Suart gives us a picture of his roll-out paintings of inro.

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