The history of Singapore’s Chinese community is carved in stone and wood: in the epigraphic record of 62 Chinese temples, native place associations, clan and guild halls, from 1819 to 1911. These materials include temple plaques, couplets, stone inscriptions, stone and bronze censers, and other inscribed objects found in these institutions. They prove first-hand historical information on the aspirations and contributions of the early generation of Chinese settlers in Singapore. Early inscriptions reveal the centrality of these institutions to Chinese life in Singapore, while later inscriptions show the many ways that these institutions have evolved over the years. Many have become deeply engaged in social welfare projects, while others have also become centers of transnational networks. These materials, available in Chinese and in English translation, open a window into the world of Chinese communities in Singapore. These cultural artifacts can also be appreciated for their exceptional artistic value. They are a central part of the heritage of Singapore.
Dean, K. & Hue G. T. Chinese Epigraphy in Singapore (NUS Press, 2016).