Enquiry about object: 9006

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    Straits Chinese Beaded Wedding Slippers

    Straits or Peranakan Chinese, Straits Settlements, probably Malacca, Malaysia/Singapore
    circa 1880

    length: 25cm, width: approximately 8cm, combined weight: 108g

    Available Enquire


    UK art market

    This pair of beaded slippers, of plain early form and no heel, probably was intended for a Straits Chinese man or baba, as part of her wedding costume. The pair have leather soles. The interiors of the soles have been lined with brown paper. The uppers are of burgundy-red velvet decorated with applied faceted rocaille glass beadwork depicting multi-coloured peony blooms and each with a butterfly on the ends of the toes.

    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.

    The pair here is in good condition. There are some losses to the beads and obvious overall wear.


    Cheah, H.F., Phoenix Rising: Narratives in Nyonya Beadwork from the Straits Settlements, NUS Press, Singapore, 2010.

    Cheah, H.F, Nyonya Needlework: Embroidery and Beadwork in the Peranakan World, Asian Civilisations Museum, 2017.

    Ee, R., et al, Peranakan Museum A-Z Guide, Asian Civilisations Museum, 2008.

    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.

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