The Gold Ornaments of Temasek


About the Webinar

The gold ornaments found in 1928 on Fort Canning Hill often feature in narratives of 14th-century Singapore but have never been the subject of in-depth study. The Temasek History Research Centre is proud to present this talk, in which we will consider the ornaments, their origin, and what they tell us of Temasek and its peoples. 20th-century scholars were inclined to characterise them as Majapahit, which historical sources like the 1365 C.E. Desawarnana (also known as the Nagarakrtagama) also imply. Like the Siamese Kot Monthieraban, both chronicles claim, on behalf of their king, overlordship of the vicinity at this end of the Malay Peninsula, even while the Sejarah Melayu emphasises the supposed Sumatran lineage of early settlers of Temasek. How do the writings square up with the cultural influences visible from the artistry of the ornaments, and can modern scientific techniques add to the conversation? Close examination, in collaboration with the National Museum of Singapore and the Heritage Conservation Centre, surfaced new evidence that will be revealed for the first time in this talk.

This webinar is supported by Temasek Foundation.

About the Speaker

Dr Natalie S.Y. Ong is a Visiting Fellow at the Temasek History Research Centre. She recently obtained her PhD in Southeast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore examining the narrative bas-reliefs on the UNESCO monuments of Borobudur and Prambanan in Central Java. She previously completed her MA in Indic Cultures at the Université Paris III Sorbonne-Nouvelle, and since 2008 has worked extensively on many cultural projects in Singapore, including the creation in 2010 of the E-Museum of Southeast Asian Ceramics for the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society where she was also Secretary until 2013; the publication and exhibition Southeast Asian Ceramics: New Light on Old Pottery; curatorial work with the NUS Museum and Baba House; and as researcher for the National Heritage Board.



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.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.
Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.


May 30 2022


10:00 am - 11:15 am