Seven Silver Straits Chinese Kerosang Brooches
Singapore or Malaysia
early 20th century
diameters: 3.1cm-3.5cm, combined weight: 79g
This small collection of kerosangs or brooches that Straits Chinese (the localised Chinese) and Malay ladies used to pin their kebaya blouses closed in lieu of buttons comprises two sets of three brooches, and a single brooch.
All are gilded (gold plated) or were gilded in the past. The two sets of three are decorated with granulation work or faceted granulations. The single brooch is set with faceted zircons.
As Lee (2014) points out, the Straits Chinese are thought of as having copied the Malay habit of using such brooches but there is no indigenous tradition of pinning jewellery to clothing. Rather, the source of both habits probably was Europe with its long tradition of brooches.
Chin, E., Gilding the Phoenix: The Straits Chinese and their Jewellery, The National Museum Singapore, 1991.
Ho, W.M., S
traits Chinese Silver: A Collector’s Guide, Times International, 1984.
Sarong Kebaya: Peranakan Fashion in an Interconnected World 1500-1950, Asian Civilisations Museum, 2014.Provenance:
UK art market
Inventory no.: 3276