A Tale of Two Cities: Banzu and Temasek


About the Webinar

Wang Dayuan was the first ancient Chinese trader who wrote about Southeast Asia in his travels. In Wang’s book Dao Yi Zhi Lue (1350) (loosely translated as A Brief Account of Island Barbarians), “Banzu” is mentioned in reference to Singapore, along with “Temasek” and “Longyamen”. This webinar will identify Banzu with the present-day Rochor area. The “crater peak” recorded in the passage that mentions Banzu referred to “Bukit Kawah” in the 1825 city map of Singapore, known as Mount Emily today. Longyajiar (龙牙加儿) on the Mao Kun Map will be identified with Kallang River and Bukit Kallang. The toponym Longyajiar (Lenggakar in Hokkien) on the map is upstream of Kallang River near the Whampoa River, once known as Manggakar (芒加脚). The webinar will explain the linguistic linkage between Lenggakar and Manggakar, and elaborate on the types of materials that were unearthed along the Rochor River.

About the Speaker

Tai Yew Seng is a Visiting Fellow of THRC and a ceramic archaeologist who specialises in excavating and handling ceramic from kiln sites, shipwrecks, ruins, and tombs. He also has expertise in Southeast Asian maritime trade with China. He has researched the thalassocracy of Longyamen during the 13th-14th centuries and Chinese navigation charts and texts in ISEAS. During his stint as a Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), he participated in the Aceh Geohazard Project which involved the collection and analyses of ancient ceramic sherds from over 44 villages. Dr Tai has also taught several courses on Chinese culture and material culture at the Chinese Department at the Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore. He has published several research papers and co-authored books on ceramic archaeology and maritime trade in English and Chinese.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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If you have questions for the panellists, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the panellist during the Q&A session.


Jun 09 2021


10:00 am - 11:30 am