Peranakan Chinese Gilded Silver Belt Buckle with Applique Work
length: 9.9cm, weight: 79g
The localised Chinese or peranakan Chinese of Java had a similarly hybrid culture as to that of the Straits Chinese of Penang, Malacca and Singapore. They adopted customs from the indigenous populations and blended them with their own.
One such custom was the wearing of large ovoid-shaped belt buckles for important ceremonial occasions such as weddings. The example here comprises a silver belt of ovoid shape but with stylised, crenulated edges reminiscent of a Chinese cloud motif. The buckle is convex.
The outer surface is covered with fine, applique work – little pieces of silver, shaped and carefully soldered on – to show Chinese immortals arrayed amid copious foliage around a central raised and pieced figure, possibly Shou, the longevity god. Such applique work is typical of
peranakan silverwork from West Java. The surface has been gilded (gold-plated).
The reverse of the buckle has a frame through which the belt can be threaded.
The buckle is in fine condition.
Chin, E., Gilding the Phoenix: The Straits Chinese and their Jewellery, The National Museum Singapore, 1991.Provenance:
private collection, UK.
Inventory no.: 1617