3 Dec 2021 - 31 Dec 2021

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This November, LET’S LEARN ABOUT…celebrations over food!


As 2021 comes to a close, take some time to look back and celebrate the year that has passed. Think about some of your favourite memories of 2021. Were they spent over a meal to celebrate an occasion? Who were you with and what food did you eat? How did you feel during that meal?

Even though it may still be difficult for us to meet physically and share a meal with our loved ones, let’s look at some objects from ACM's collection that remind us of celebrations over food, of the value of kinship, togetherness, and sharing.










China, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736–95)

Painted enamels on copper



Are you familiar with the scene of people eating around a hotpot at the table, dipping a variety of food into the hot boiling soup? Hotpot might even be one of your favourite dishes! In fact, eating food from a metal pot of simmering soup dates back more than a thousand years in China. These hotpots, referring to both the meal and the vessel, were enjoyed by Chinese emperors during the Qing dynasty over 200 years ago.


This squarish hotpot is made of copper, a metal which can heat up fast. It is decorated with a layer of painted enamel on the surface.  Enamel is melted glass, mixed with pigments for colour, that bonds to the metal. The glassy enamel is what gives the pot a shiny look. Try describing the scenes painted on this hotpot!


Would you like to eat from a pot like this? You can find this hot pot in our Maritime Trade Gallery on Level 1.



 Box lid


A box lid with a royal couple sharing a wine cup

Gandhara (now part of Pakistan and Afghanistan), around 5th century



This is the lid of an oval-shaped stone box that was made over 1,600 years ago! The picture carved on it shows a couple holding a cup, from which they sip a drink together. What do you think they are drinking? We think that it’s likely they were drinking wine, as there is a grape vine hanging right above the cup.


This couple is dressed well, and they are sitting in a relaxed manner. What do you think the occasion might be? With this decoration on the cover, what do you think this box would have been used for?


Have a closer look at this object in our Ancient Religions Gallery on level 2.






Iran, late 15th16th centuries

Glazed earthenware



This large dish measures 40 centimetres across, which makes it considerably bigger than your typical dinner plate! Made in Persia (present-day Iran), the colour and shape of this large dish is an imitation of Chinese celadon, or green-glazed wares from China around 500 over years ago.


Such plates were common types of ceramic objects produced for and in the Islamic world. The dining style in many parts of the Islamic world involved people sharing food from large dishes. Have you shared food like this with your family or friends?





We hope that the time will come soon for us to be able to celebrate and share a meal with all our family and friends again. If you could share a festive year-end meal with your family and friends, what food would we see on your plate? Using the template provided here, make a sketch or a collage of your special year-end meal. Tag us @ACM_SG and #LearningatACMto get your creation featured on our Instagram.


My Special Meal drawing template





Head to NHB’s one-stop heritage portal Roots.sg to read more about the objects featured:



A box lid with a royal couple sharing a wine cup



Want more of these resources? Come back to learn new things every month.

Missed a monthly post? Not to worry, we keep past topics here for you.

What else would you like to learn about? Tell us here.


There’s more!

Check out other videos and download e-resources inspired by the objects in ACM’s collection.