An ornate tablecloth from the last century, embroidered with a flock of ten phoenixes. A shard of fabric, on which deer, crabs, fish and flowers flutter and dance. The intricate needlework and beadwork of the Straits-born Chinese community (called Peranakans) is, just like their food and architecture, a wonder to behold — and you’ll fall in love with it at this exhibition.
The exhibition presents an array of embroidery and beadwork on purses, handkerchiefs and even footwear from as early as the turn of the 20th century. The painstaking work of the Nyonya (which refers to women of the Peranakan community), the designs tell stories themselves: of the community’s inter-cultural exchanges with Europe, of its journey as immigrants from China in the 15th and 17th centuries, and of its vibrant traditions, many of which still thrive today.
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