Saturday, March 24, 2012

Constraints : Bronze money in the design of seashells. With the development of commodity exchange, the supply of natural shells as the currency ran out of supply. Imitation shell money made from stone, bone, ceramics and bronze was thus invented to make up for the shortage. But eventually it was bronze shell-shaped money that replaced natural shells.

During the days of the ancient Chinese Civilization, they invented Chinese coins, the first metal coins in the world. Bronze and Copper imitations of cowrie shells were manufactured by China about 1000 BCE and could be considered some of the earliest forms of metal coins.

The earliest coins were inscribed imitation hoes issued by the Zhou kings in the late sixth century BCE. In the third century BCE a practical solution to the problem of handling irregularly shaped coins was found by replacing hoe and knife coins with flat disc-shaped coins with a central hole, so they could be carried in bulk on strings.

The invention of Chinese coins serve as a fundamental base of currency in Asia and contribute to the conventional way of trading, purchase and selling.

Resources and References


1.Parliament of Singapore. (2011). Parliament of singapore website . Retrieved from  
2. Computer Smiths. (n.d.). History of chinese invention and discovery history of chinese invention - the invention of monetary coins. Retrieved from 
3. China Info Online. (n.d.). Ancient coins(古币 gubi). Retrieved from


Picture of the night scene at the bank of the Singapore River     -   (

Friday, March 23, 2012

Panaromic View of Singapore River at Coleman Bridge

Trade at Singapore River (ACM)

Asian Civilisation Museum - Artefact 3 : Mirror

Artefact 3: Mirror (with cosmological decoration)

Period of time : China, 759

Material : Bronze

This artefact is a mirror with cosmological decoration in the Tang Dynasty.

Three differences to modern day version :

1. The material of the modern mirror is different from the Tang Dynasty mirror. The modern mirror is made of glass and a sheet of aluminum behind the glass. The Tang Dynasty mirror is made from bronze and was originally silvery, due to adding tin to bronze. Bronze and tin were materials used more commonly in the past by the Chinese, thus these materials were used to make mirrors. Another reason behind this is that bronze is stronger. It is also hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity.

2. The purpose of the mirrors are also different. The mirror made in the Tang Dynasty is a celebrated form called "Jiangxin" or "Yangxin" (Heart of the Yangzi). It is used to cast aboard a boat moored in the Yangzou Yangzi River. The modern version of the mirror is used to check the person's appearance. It is also used for personal grooming or admiring oneself.

3. The occasions that the mirrors were or are made in are also different in a way that the mirror made in the Tang Dynasty was made on the 29th day of the 11th month of the 1st day of the wuxu era according to its inscription. The wuxu era is of the Qianyuan reign of the Tang in Yangzhou in the midst of the Yangzi River. Now, many mirrors are manufactured everyday to be sent to various stores and sold to people.

Shape Change of Singapore River

I do not think Singapore River would have a change of shape as the government would do its best to preserve this tourist attraction for the future generations. The land wouldn't be reclaimed to build more buildings. The river is also almost rubbish-free which does not clogged up the drain which might cause a little change of shape over a very very very very very long period of time.


Coleman Bridge links hill street and new bridge road near clarke quay. In the past, the bridge creates a boundary between downtown core and the singapore river planning area, located within Singapore's central district. This bridge was the second bridge built across singapore river and has undergo many changes, it was one constructed with timber than replaced by iron and finally concrete due to the heavy traffic flow.

Eglin Bridge was named after Lord Eglin, governor-general of India in 1929, it was the first fridge across the river. It allowed access between the indian merchants of high street and the chinese community.

Cavenagh Bridge is the oldest bridge in singapore that is still in its original form. Its original name was edinburgh named after a duke but was later named after Major General Cavenagh. It linked the northern bank to the commercial district.

Asian Civilisation Musuem

The Asian civilization museum is Singapore's first museum to allow people to understand/compare the past asia cultures and civilizations to the current world. It helps to promote singapore's multi-ethic society. The museum is home to many items own by our forefathers from different parts of Asia when they came to Singapore. It is 14,000 square metros big which consists of 11 galleries and1300 artifacts.

Asian Civilisation Museum - Artefact 2 : Chinese Coins

The Chinese coins are used as a form of money in the different era that they are minted in. 

Three differences to its modern day 

1. In the past, the coins has a square-shaped hole in the middle of the coin. This is to help the past people string and tie their coins up on a piece of ribbon or string. In the present days, the coins no longer have holes as there are purses to store the coins so that coins do not get lost unnecessarily. 

2. The coins are inscribed differently in the past from the present. In the past, the chinese coins are inscribed from the era that they are minted in and the value of the coins( circulating treasure or heavy treasure). In the present days, the coins are inscribed with the year they are minted and symbol of the government with the country's name. 

3.  In the past, Chinese people use ingots has money too but in the present days, we use notes and coins as money. The ingots are made in silver. Notes are made from paper and plastic with the value and design printed on it. 

Sir Stanford Raffles' statue

Sir Stanford Raffles' stature is build on the north bank of singapore river as it is believed to be the place where he first stepped ashore on the little island. This white polymarble statue is a replica of the one outside Victoria Theatre/Concert Hall. Statues of him were build to remember the sacrifices and contributions he had made to singapore by turning an fishing village to a great seaport and modern metropolis.

Parliament House, Singapore

The parliament house lies in the central of singapore, singapore river. The former building was designed by former president Ong Teng Cheong, but due to space constraint a bigger building was needed. The new parliament house designed by Public Works Department has a chamber with around 100 seats, 170-seat auditorium, a library, meeting and IT rooms, media facilities, dining room, cafeteria and even a gymnasium.
The functions of Parliament include making laws, controlling the state's finances and taking up a critical/inquisitorial role to check on the actions of the governing party and the Ministries.

Link to Google Maps :,103.851249&spn=0.001301,0.001668

The 'past' and 'present' singapore river

Inference 1 :

I can infer that Singapore River was a important place that shows the activities of traders. It is evident from the following sources below that there warehouses at the sides of the Singapore River that were converted to modern day buildings and models of boats that trade in Singapore were displayed in the Asian Cvilisation Museum. Thus, trading activities were carried out in the past at the Singapore River.

Information :
For over a century, the Singapore River was Singapore’s trading and commercial lifeline. The sheltered harbour at the mouth of the river had facilitate entrepot trade, bring ships and immigrants to the island’s shores. By 1970s, the river had become one large dumping ground for the street hawkers and squatter settlements that had settled around its shores. There are hardly any marine lives because the river was so clogged up with rubbish. Thus, in 1977, the government embarked on the mammoth task of cleaning up the river. Ten years later, marine life started to thrive in this river. With the river cleaned up, the next stage is to redevelop the area around the river. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) undertook the planning of the Singapore River.

Inference 2 :

I can infer that the current Singapore River is now a popular tourist attraction. It is shown in the picture below  that there are many shops and restaurants in infrastructures built along the river, after many developments have taken place there.The Singapore River has also used as a site for river cruising to enjoy the scenic view of the sides of Singapore River. Thus, the river has been used as a place of interest to attract tourist with the shopping, dining and relaxation facilities.

 Observation : The place is know for its night life and there are many pubs/bars and restaurants along the river. All the shop houses/buildings are brightly painted.

Observation : Now, many tour boats are sailing on Singapore river to bring people across this river.

Inference 3 : I can also infer that the Singapore River is a historical place. It is evident from the source that it is where Sir Stamford Raffles's second statue is located at. There are many other historical places such as the Asian Civilisation Museum to preserve the past. Thus, the Singapore River would be a place with many evidences of the past.

Asian Civilisation Museum - Artefact 1 : Flask

Period of time :  China, ca. 830
Material : Gilded Silver

This artefact is a flask in the Tang Dynasty and it is used to hold or store water .

Three differences to modern day version :

1. The material the modern flask was made from were different from the flask from the Tang Dynasty. Today, the flask is made up of plastic or metal which has thermal function.  These materials were more common in the present days. Plastic would be more durable and lighter in weight as compared to gilded silver. Metal with thermal is used now as it provided people with convenience to keep the water warm, remaining at that range of temperature. Unlike ceramics, these metals will not break as easily as ceramics.

2. The appearance of the flask has also changed in the modern days. In the past, the flask was exquisitely and sumptuously decorated. It was carved with stylized louts and the centre featured a pair of mandarin ducks. Attention was paid to every detail, as the elegant handle was beautifully formed as a snake. It was in the colour of the material, silver. It looked more like a decoration piece then a household item. Now, most flasks were not decorated as  fancily as in the past. Household flasks are available in different colours and patterns They may be just a circular container or a picture printed on it.

3. The size and the shape of the flask is different from the modern version. The flask in the olden time were huge in size and the handle is like a arc over the opening of the flask. The size and shape of the flask varies more, between small and large with different types of forms and sculptured flasks.

As time passes, the flask has evolved into a lighter and much more common household item in the modern days.

Scaled-map of the course of Singapore River from Coleman Bridge (New Bridge Road) to Anderson Bridge (Asian Civilisation Museum):

This is the drawn scaled map of the course of Singapore River from Coleman Bridge (New Bridge Road) to Anderson Bridge(Asian Civilisation Museum).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blog done by:

This Blog is done by:

Cheng Shu Yu Mavis(1), Ding Nina Lin(2), Foo Kai Qi Gladys(3), Ishani Saha(4)

Class: S201

Group: 1