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Architectural Decoration: Negotiating Symbols Across Time and Place

— a special edition publication



part of singapore culture & design research project


The output of this research project is a special publication that serves as an introductory book to the symbolic imagery of Hokkien architectural-style temples in Singapore. It combines illustrations and incisive text about specific symbols, as well as representative images of three Singapore Chinese temples built in the 19th century. Each text explains the meaning, mythology, setting, and materials behind the symbolism.

In the age of e-books, this book offers a different take on scrolling through text. To enhance the value of these cultural images and reflect the expectations and pursuits of our ancestors for beautiful things, this limited-edition publication was deliberately made in the form of ancient Chinese scrolls to depict a continuous narrative: viewing is a kind of progression through time and space.

This book aims to serve as a platform for a better understanding of cultural materials while allowing the younger generation to read a bamboo scroll book. Each book comprises 225 bamboo strips and is the longest bamboo scroll book in Singapore, measuring 4.35 meters in length. Due to the handwork, each book takes about five days to complete. This bamboo scroll book is a combination of new technology and old materials, where the past and present are in constant dialogue.

Negotiating Symbols Across Time and Place is supported by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Ministry of Education, Singapore.

Research period: 2010-2013

Production period: 2014-2015


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