Monday, September 21, 2009

Peranakan Museum

Straits Chinese furniture have intricate inlays of mother-of-pearl. This set is found in the Peranakan Museum in Singapore.

If you're interested in exploring other cultures, the Peranakan Museum at 39 Armenian St is worth a visit. The artefacts of the Straits Chinese on display are quite comprehensive and to me, it's the best museum to visit if you're in Singapore. It is an authentic boutique museum. In fact it is like a huge bungalow and you climb the wooden stairs to get to the upper galleries (three floors), no lifts. The building it inhabits was actually a Chinese school built in 1912, the Tao Nan School.
The style is eclectic classical and you can see the tropical influences like the bamboo chicks.

Peranakan or Straits Chinese culture has its own traditions, notably a hybrid of Malay and Chinese cultures. They are descendants of Chinese traders who settled in Malacca and the coastal areas of Java and Sumatra and then Penang and Singapore. Peranakan Chinese are Chinese in race but Malay influenced in their food and dress, and they speak patois Malay.

A typical kitchen in the Peranakan house.

Marriage rituals are explained in this gallery. This is a mock up of a leg of pork which is given to the bride's family. Actually I thought it should be a whole suckling pig.

Peranakans wear kebayas and these vary from the simple white everyday kebaya to more ornate embroidered ones like this one. One of my neighbours was Peranakan and I remember she wore kebaya tops and sarong as daily wear. Today, kebayas may be worn for special occasions as formal wear.

Kebayas do not have buttons but instead are fastened by brooches called kerosang.

Well, enough nuggets of info about the interesting offerings of the museum.

That's my World


  1. I love museum. Beautiful photos.

  2. What a wonderful museum! And your photos are marvelous! Thanks for the tour!



  3. I love the facade of hte museum.

    My entry is over at

  4. Thanks for sharing your lovely museum.

  5. I've been there once, during the opening. I love the intricate design of their kebaya!

  6. Lovely photos of the museum. Normally I would see wedding gifts of a whole suckling pig or canned pig legs but not the fresh pig leg. Could be during the ancient time when canned pig legs are not available.


Great to see you ~Irene