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 images of Hokkien architectural-style temples.
It combines illustrations and incisive write up about particular symbols with representative images from three Singapore Chinese temples built in the 19th century. Each of the texts explains the meaning, mythology, setting and materials behind the symbolism. 


In the age of the e-book, this book offers a different take on scrolling through text. 

To enhance the value of these cultural images as they display our ancestor’s expectations and pursuits of beautiful things, this limited-edition publication is deliberately made in the format of a ancient Chinese scrolls, which allows for the depiction of a continuous narrative: the viewing is a progression through time and space. 


This book aims to serves as a platform for better understanding of culture material, as well as to let the younger generations has a chance to read a bamboo scroll book. Each book consists of 225 bamboo strips and is the longest bamboo scroll book in Singapore, measuring 4.35 meter in length. Due to the handwork, each book took about five days to be produced. This bamboo scroll book is combination of both new technology and old material; where past and present are in continuous 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