Peranakan museum

After our trip to the Art Museum, we walked down the street to the Peranakan Museum. Free admission too! How cool is that! We should visit the museums every National Day:)

Though my maternal grandparents were Peranakan, I am pretty clueless about my ancestral roots, so I was surprised to find out that Peranakans are not just of Malay-Chinese descent,

but also of Indian descent (the Chitty Melaka) and Jawi descent (Jawi descent).

Peranakans are well-known for their intricate beadwork art. This bedspread alone is made up of approximately ONE MILLION hand-sewn glass beads! I dread to think how long it must have taken to sew this!

The actual size of each bead is smaller than the white space in the middle of this ‘o’. (on an iPad-sized screen).

Exquisite, don’t you think? (I once tried cross-stitching a 10cmx10cm racoon and gave up halfway. Apparently, I don’t have their sewing genes in me.)

This is so… immaculately perfect!

They made beadwork Everything, from table spreads, to purses and slippers. You must touch and feel the actual items to be impressed. My photos don’t do the exquisite work justice.

Everything about the Peranakans seems to spell patience to painstaking detail and a love for the simple but beautiful things in nature. A simple flower and a peacock turns into an elaborate solid gold belt.

Butterflies turn into ornate bridal headwear.

Even their simple daily wear is not so simple…

Weddings were long, elaborate affairs that lasted up to 15 days. With no details spared. (I used ‘were’ because this is rarely practised nowadays in modern-day Singapore.

This wonderful couple tried to re-enact a traditional Peranakan wedding and they made it! For 3 days. About the longest modern day wedding I’ve come across. But I admire their effort. They have the true blue Peranakan spirit indeed!)

In case you’re wondering, this is just a wedding gift box, known as ‘bakul siah’. With giftboxes like that, I wonder what sort of gifts must go in to outshine the box??

Their home furniture is no doubt as ornate.

All engraved and handcrafted with expert precision

Many are inlaid with hand crafted mother-of-pearl.

How clever to use cold marble in a hot, tropical climate!

A wash basin

Wardrobe top

Bridal bed

Dining ware


And a thousand other intricate pieces

Even the tabletop ornament is not spared extravagant detail.

And religion-wise, they are very tolerant. This is a Taoist altar.

Look at this ‘converted’ altar.

Some puritans might probably frown at the blasphemous pairing of ‘Satanic’ dragon altars with the Holy Family. But well, this is Singapore afterall. “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion…” Nevertheless, this was still an eye-opener for me!

Another wonderful day out!:)

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