Peranakan Musuem

I took some time to sort out the pictures of my little expedition to the Peranakan museum. They are by no means the only pictures I’ve taken, the best part has yet to come, *grins*, but I will post that in a separate entry.

My interest in the Peranakan culture has been invoked by my preparation work for Channel 8’s upcoming blockbuster drama 《小娘惹》where I will be acting as an English-educated nonya of the third generation.

Personally, I adore big families, and I enjoy practicing tradition although I haven’t been brought up to do so. To some extent, I believe some traditional values, beliefs, practices are essential in our society, to ground us in the fast paced lives we live and to add deeper meaning to who we are.

I’m envious of the Peranakan community for being so proud of their culture, for their willingness to share their knowledge and craft to keep the culture alive, because when everything turns to dust, this is what will still remain.

Peranakan Museum entrance.

The origin of Peranakans. You can click on it for a larger image.

I thought women in those days can hardly step out of the house.

I like the lobby area, I imagine I’m peaking out from the second floor of a Peranakan home.

The beadwork is so intricate, I salute the women who let this take shape. This is a tray cloth, used during weddings, to cover food or gifts.

The hall where the bride and the bridegroom will have to carry out the individual wedding ritual in their respective homes at a certain auspicious hour.

The wedding gown…beautiful isn’t it?

Husband and wife sharing their first meal in the room.


The marital bed, which has been blessed by a young boy (there is a special selection criteria) rolling on the bed three times. It is another beautiful piece of furniture. You should see the cupboards and dressing table, I love the carvings and the dark wood, it’s very classic!

The bead chart. Women had to learn sewing and embroidery and be skilled in it in order to qualify as a good future daughter-in-law.

The beaded panel for shoes.

A marriage certificate

Pick up the telephones and hear someone talking to you. It’s fun!

A large piece of embroidery

An ancestral tablet

Notice the carvings on it. Maidens are carved on it to provide the dead a good after-life.

It is so detailed!

I am impressed with the craftsman who did this! The dragon looks quite alive despite being carved from wood!

Ancestor worship is part of the Peranakan practice.

Some deities that Peranakans might pray to.

How many of these deities can you identify?

19 responses to “Peranakan Musuem

  1. Joanne Jie, looks like you had a fruitful trip there. Where is the museum located? All the best for your upcoming drama! Jia You=)

  2. wow, cool! 🙂 nice place…

  3. Hello,

    If you like to see all these kinda crafts, do go to Ang Kor, Cambodia, if you havent. I had the chance to go over last year with my best friends – one of them is a Cambodian, and I was totally amazed by the people who did it in the past when they had only simple tools. KUDOS to all them! =)

    take care!

  4. Wah, we can really learn a lot about the Peranakan culture in this entry! 😀

    Orr horr, Joanne took pictures in the museum! Haha, joking lah. 😀

  5. hello joanne [: wow .. from e fotos , can tell you had an enjoyable day .. e dragon looks a bit like chinese type of dragon .. did you eat e food in e foto ? =p
    take care !


  6. at the first glance through the lobby area picture, i thought it was the Asian Civilization Museum. didn’t know that the there’s a new Peranakan Museum in Singapore..haven’t been there before though..sounds interesting. The blockbuster drama which you mentioned (小娘惹) sounds interesting as well…third generation nyonya, are you gonna dress yourself up in a kebaya? lol

  7. hi joanne,
    at last you blogged in english.
    i agree with you the dragon look quite alive and the phones look really cute!!

    take care.

  8. joanne,you really a hardworking artist…

    hope you can cope with the nyonya character..

    please take yourself.

  9. hehe my friend (who’s very interested in museums) is a guide at the peranakan museum! just shared this piece of info cos i feel excited for her 😀

    i’m going there tmr too; my friend wants to practise her guiding before she officially starts!

  10. Hi there,

    Really like the way you share and express your thoughts…

    Hope you will shine brighter.


  11. Nice postings and pics , Joanne!
    Yes, artistes have to understand the culture before performing the roles.

    I am sure you look cute in Nonya costume.


    I won’t be at Far East Plaza to see you as my family is hosting dinner for overseas relatives on the same day (20th June) 😦

    No more exclaimation ” Baiiiiii…..Weeeeiiii… Xiuuuu” for you to hear.

    Never mind, can see you next in Beachball Babes roadshow (if any.)

  12. hihi Joanne,
    Is Dawn part of your team is the show Beach,Ball .Babes?

  13. hello i’m a fan of ur blog! but first time leaving a comment here. Anw i also went to e museum just last month. I was most impressed with the beaded craft. Did u see the huge one with over a million beads? haha my auntie knows how to make those. I’m sure u’ll get e chance to wear one of those beaded slippers for ur new show. =) all e best!

  14. wa! museum.. i was like totally have not much interest in the history. =/ soso, it will be a miracle to see me in a museum. haha

  15. btw.. how come besides our name have one picture like icon?? sorry.. im kinda slow esp abt comp stuffs. =/

  16. Hmm, nt bad ah, start to do hmwk b4 the show starts… ha.

    I love the pics! Indeed, their culture is really interesting, now i noe dat its way different frm wat i hav always tot of it to be… cool! I like the wedding gown too, its really nice! Okie, now i cant wait to make a trip down there to c it for myself either. keke =p

    Cant wait to c u dressed in the peranakan traditional clothes eh! hah. but i hav seen a shot of your imaging for dat show alr, u look great! =)

    Oh ya, this is only part 1 of the pics rite? Post more, post more, i wan part 2!! haha.

  17. I believe Joanne will be posting her details about Dusty Grand Opening?

    To Germaine:

    Yes, Dawn Yeoh is involved in the show ‘Beach Ball Babe’ which will be airing in July 2008.

    And I hope there will be roadshow event where we can see Joanne and Dawn in person…

  18. Hi, all.

    If you are willing to learn more about Perankan Culture fun way, you can go to this site, and purschase the book.

    Or, go to Popular bookstore and browse thru and read.(Don’t buy , never mind.)


    This book is interesting and you can read the book like comics. Ask your family to buy this book for you.

  19. Joanne,

    Interesting in this Exhibit of pics. It’s from 26 April – August 2008. Leave 2 months only. I’ll visit new Peranakan Museum. Thank you for this showing pics.

    I saw you at video gallery (MediaCorp TV) “THE LITTLE NYONYA” – that you wear red/white blouse with pretty and looks cute! Enjoy and fun yourself!

    Smile, angeline

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