Saturday, May 2, 2009

house of jade at nassim road

(bottom two photos, from the national archives of s'pore)

i remember visiting the jade house at nassim road with someone, who was connected with the aw family, in the 60s or early 70s. at that time, i did not quite appreciate the value of the jade pieces that were on display. to me, they were just carved stone pieces.

at the end of the 80s, the jade house at nassim road was torn down. today, in its place is a condominium.

the jade collection, which was priceless and quite unique, had taken more than 50 years to assemble through the joint efforts of the aw brothers, aw boon haw and aw boon par. it was housed in one of the aw mansions at nassim road, off orchard road.

the jade pieces, arranged in numerous cabinets, represented every important dynasty of china.

the tiger oil - house of jade itself repesented an unusual and memorable sight. it lay in a compound where sculptured models of gazellas, storks and lions were sert on the lawn; grottos, shrines and small caves were built into the rocks along the sides.

in the 1930s, the aw brothers opened their private jade house on nassim Road for public viewing as part of their commitment to community service. during the second world war, the aw family hid their jade collection in crates, in the basement of the jade house. the jade collection survived the war largely intact and the family donated part of it to the national museum of singapore in 1979. the national heritage board currently owns the aw family’s private jade collection.


Dogcom said...

Wow, Aw Boon Haw and House of Jade brings back childhood memories. I used to live at 37 Tanglin Rd. Do you remember the Snake Charmers at the entrance to the Jade House? and the two Stone Elephant at the front entrance to their residence at the corner of Tanglin Rd and Nassim Rd?

Lim Wee said...

Yes, I remember the Snake Charmers who used to ply their trade to charm the cobras. I used to live @ 26, Tanglin Road, the row of old pre-war 2 storey houses which is now demolished. We always looked forward to the Chinese Lunar Years, where the owners had an open house to allow folks like us to visit the surroundings. Haha, we used to play cards, small gamblings in one of those caves behind the Villa. What a kind gestures, as in those days, gambling, going to cinemas like Lido, Capitol, Rex, Odean were a big deal!!!! Not forgetting firing crackers>

Frankie said...

Lim Wee, how are you this is your neighbor from number 34 lah : ) (Khim) Haven't seen you in years. We should meet up and talk about the old times. Contact me through my blog ok : )

Those were the days. I totally agree with you, the house of jade open house during Lunar New Year were the most memorable of our childhood days.

Simone Lee said...

Does anyone have pictures of the stone elephants mentioned by Dogcom? Or describe them; ie. size, height, colour?

Dogcom said...

I have a couple of photos but there's no photo upload available here.

Simone Lee said...

Oh dear... I just realised that there's no photo upload available. Well, perhaps from your photos, would you say that the pair of elephants were about 4 to 5 feet in height, standing on a thick platform with some patterns carved on each side (probably around half a meter high)? Each elephant and platform carved from a single stone? One elephant facing the left (judging from the placement of the trunk) and one on the right.

Simone Lee said...

I apologise for asking so many questions. I'm looking for a particular pair of elephants.