Sunday, April 22, 2007

Living under the Crescent Moon

National Museum of Singapore
Originally uploaded by oceanskies79.

"How is life like living in the Arab world?

What kind of designs do the people in the Morocco, Syria and the Arabian peninsula use so as to make it effective for them to live in the relatively hot and harsh climate of those region?"

These were the questions on my mind that had prompted me to visit the National Museum of Singapore to check out the exhibition, Living Under the Crescent Moon: Domestic Culture in the Arab World recently.

The exhibition is part of a two-months long festival, Under the Crescent Moon, which introduces the rich cultural heritage of the Arab world and Turkey. As best as I understand, Living Under the Crescent Moon: Domestic Culture in the Arab World is one of the travelling exhibitions of the Vitra Design Museum. Do check out this page from Vitra Design Museum's website for more information on the exhibition:

Sanpshot of part of the Oasis section.

Before viewing the exhibits from Living Under the Crescent Moon: Domestic Culture in the Arab World at Exhibition Gallery 2 of the National Museum of Singapore, it is recommended that visitors spend some moments at the Oasis section located at the entrance to Exhibition Gallery 2. At this section, visitors can find interesting fast facts about the Arab world. As I viewed this section, it struck me that the Islamic culture is a very enlightened culture and part of the reason why this is the case could be because of Islam's high regard to the search for knowledge.

There are also engaging activities for visitors to have their hands-on at the Oasis section. There are computer terminals at the section for visitors to send e-cards to their friends. For those who have visited Arabia and have taken photographs of their visits, they could even enter the Memories of Arabia contest.

I also urge visitors to join one of the guided tours of the exhibition. The guided tours give a very good overall view to the entire exhibition. However, if schedule does not permit you to be onboard any of the guided tours, I suggest that visitors could take time to watch the various video recordings put up at the exhibition. The infomation on the Festival Guide stated that the schedules for the guided tours are as follow:
- Thursday and Friday: 2.30 p.m. daily
- Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.
However, do take note that the tours will be conducted in English only, and are subjected to the availability of the volunteer guides.

At the exhibition, I took particular notice of the following:

The Reed Buildings in the South Iraq Marshes

A model of a reed building.

I can imagine how beautiful the reed buildings would look in real life. It is fascinating to realise that how functional these reed buildings could be in the hot Iraqi climate. However, it turns out that there aren't many of these buildings left in the world. For your convenient reading, I have found the following online sources on the reed buildings:

The Beehive houses in Syria

The houses are built with a domed roof. I read that the walls are made of limstone and sundried mud-bricks. I've found the domed roof to be very interesting. The design of such beehives houses appear to be very functional for the Syrian climate.
Also see: The Beehive Enigma

The Tuareg
I have found it interesting to learn that for the Taureg, a Berber ethnic group, the women do not traditionally wear the veil, whereas men do.


I was told that the movie, Star Wars, was filmed in Tunisia.
Also see:

If you would like to gain some insights to the homes and household interiors of the Arab world, don't miss Living Under the Crescent Moon: Domestic Culture in the Arab World. It is now at the National Museum of Singapore, Exhibition Gallery 2, from 22 March to 21 May 2007. Admission is free. Opening hours of this exhibition is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

(All photos here are taken with non-flash photography.)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nice post on the exhibition. I wished that more people would go and see it as its quite a fascinating depiction of how life is like in many varied middle eastern societies. The different styles of houses sure looks interesting.