Glass Beaded Groom’s Slippers (Kasut Manek)
Straits Chinese, (Thong Sang Cheong Brand) Singapore
length: 27.3cm, width: 10cm
This pair of beaded slippers, with their relatively large size and without a heel, was made for a Straits Chinese man or baba, most probably as part of his wedding costume. They are entirely of leather with the leather uppers being covered in applied faceted rocaille glass beadwork depicting a deer or fawn with a blue body and grey underbelly and legs amid foliage and blooms.
This pair was made by the firm Thong Sang Cheong in Singapore. The leather interior of each is stamped with the firm’s name, logo, various Chinese characters, the word ‘Singapore’ and ’42’ to denote the size.
The pair is in excellent condition with no losses to the beadwork and only minor scuffing from wear to the undersides of the soles.
Rocaille beads were made in southern France and were widely used in Singapore and the other Straits Settlements for beading slippers, wedding pillow ends, betel set mats and other paraphernalia associated with baba/nonya culture. The Straits Chinese referred to the beads as
manek potong (‘cut beads’) and acquired them from street peddlers and specialist merchants for the purpose of beading and embroidery.
UK art market.
Ho, W.M., Straits Chinese Beadwork & Embroidery: A Collector’s Guide, Times Books International, 1987; Khoo, J.E., The Straits Chinese: A Cultural History, The Pepin Press, 1996; and Ee, R., et al, Peranakan Museum A-Z Guide, Asian Civilisations Museum, 2008.
Inventory no.: 1003