If you are a lover of heritage, culture and interesting collections, you must make a visit to Charlie Lim’s Seed Carving and Heritage Museum! Charlie Lim is known for his extensive seed carving collection as well as a love for all things art and heritage related.
The museum houses Charlie’s prized seed carving collection as well as rare antiques he amassed over the years as an Art Director and Photographer. Conveniently housed at Salvation Army’s Tanglin store, the collection can be perused rather conveniently.
A Trip to the Past at Charlie Lim’s Seed Carving & Heritage Museum
As you enter Salvation Army, you might think the Museum is part of a curated collection. Enter the door to the left, what greets you will be a vivid display of movie banners, portraits, antiques, vintage furniture and more.
There are distinct sections, each with a specific kind of collection on display. From collections of cigarette posters, kitchenware, cake moulds, abacus to vintage cameras and more. The museum has also been setup to have sections such as Barber shop, Kitchen, Dining Room. Charlie shared that he welcomes families and couples to take photographs using any of the setting or props.
It would be a walk down memory lane for the older generation who may be familiar with items that used to be in their homes, shops and surroundings. Huge weighing scales, Cash tins that hung from the ceiling, old-school crockery – it could be a good spot for a scavenger hunt!
My favourite part would be the dining room. It reminds me of my grandparents’ home, where tables were adorned with lace, with rattan ornaments and blue and white China.
The Heritage corridor will be reminiscent of the past, and would make for an interesting walk especially for grandparents together with their grandchildren.
Seed Carving Museum
The Seed Carving Museum draws on Charlie Lim’s personal collection of seed-carvings – peaches, walnuts, olives, coconuts and other unknown seeds. His interest in seeds sprouted as he helped his grandmother crack olive seeds. His first seed carving was bought at a mere $2.50 and is also exhibited at the museum. The seed carving from old Yuyi Emporium, was a boat with six windows with movable doors and an anchor.
The belief in “investing in seed carvings” led him to amass a large seed collection of more than 500 different designs.
The art of seed carving has its roots in the Soong Dynasty but only became more recognised in the Ming Dynasty. The art is facing its end as there are fewer black Olive trees planted and even fewer disciples of the artform. Charlie hopes to share his fascination with this artform with more people as he puts the seeds on display.
One can see the amount of handiwork that goes into each tiny seed carving. It takes much expertise and patience to carve a seed. Despite the challenges, artisans carved faces, symbols, people, deities on the seeds. Marvel at the intricacy of the seed carvings!
Light Paintography by the Man behind the Museum
It was evident that Charlie wears many hats and his expertise in various art forms and photography also led him to invent a different kind of photography that combines Baroque period art and photography. This technique – Light Paintography is a unique artform and according to Charlie, only one in the world.
Just sitting in the dark for 30 seconds can yield a beautiful, natural painting-like portrait which resembles a Rembrandt-inspired painting. You can also have your family portrait taken by Charlie at the studio. This was a popular choice by visitors to the museum, many of them chose to take the photos. I was impressed by how the photos taken had a surreal effect.
With a secret technique, Charlie manages to “paint” using light.
If you meet him in person, you might even be treated to one of his many stories when you visit the Seed Carving and Heritage Museum!
Other Sights at Salvation Army Tanglin Family Hub
There are other sights at Salvation Army Tanglin Family hub. There is an urban farm, a nursery selling plants, a pond with swings, a bird enclosure and even a new Vietnamese restaurant. More social enterprises are also expected to be housed at the compound as it expands.
Visit the Seed Carving and Heritage Museum at Salvation Army, Tanglin Family Hub, 356 Tanglin Rd, Singapore 247674. It is open from Monday to Saturday, 10.30 am to 5 pm.
Ticket pricing was still not available at the time of writing.