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The Forbidden Hill Story

Gold earrings and armlet dating to the mid-14th century, found on the ancient site of Forbidden Hill. Source: National Museum of Singapore

An ancient beginning.

Seven hundred years ago, on the slopes of the Forbidden Hill, artisans from all over Indo-China, Java and Sumatra, Sri Lanka and the Middle East came together to share their skills.

From a great palace at its summit, the Maharajas of the Kingdom of Singapura presided over an extraordinary flowering of artistic achievement, made possible by the island’s position at the very middle of the greatest maritime trading route of the age.

At the foot of the Hill, today's Fort Canning, a thriving commercial port provided both the wealth and the means to bring together artists and adventurers, sculptors and seamen, metal smiths and merchants. In the heat of their meeting, a unique artistic signature was forged.


At today’s Forbidden Hill, we are dedicated to creating objects of beauty in the tradition of that exceptional signature.

The principles and opportunities that inspired it then guide us today. Our creations come from all over South East Asia, adapting designs, materials and techniques that would be familiar to those great craftsmen from past centuries.

We refine and rework our designs until they meet the very highest standards of material, workmanship and inspiration. We then bring that inspiration to life in carefully selected workshops across the region. 


Forbidden Hill is above all a celebration of values. We value craftsmanship above the mass-produced, creativity above the conventional.

And just as the Forbidden Hill of the 14th century was a centre of multicultural exchange, we celebrate the rich diversity of South East Asia in our new combinations of materials and techniques mastered over centuries.

From precious metal bangles with traditional hand-reeled Thai silks to individually finished Vietnamese lacquerwares, we create contemporary keepsakes in the spirit of the forgotten artisans of Forbidden Hill.