5323

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Unusual Straits Chinese Double-Sided Groom’s Wedding Sash End Embroidered with a Kangaroo

Straits Chinese, Straits Settlements (Singapore, Penang, Malacca)
late 19th or early 20th century

length: 24cm, width: 6.5cm (13cm when folded out)

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Provenance

estate of a colonial administrator, thence be descent

This green silk end was intended to be the ending of a sash that would have been worn by a Straits Chinese groom, in one of the Straits Settlements.

It is double sided and embroidered in fine ‘Pekinese’ knot stitching and couched in coloured silk threads.

The designs, which are different on each side, are an almost seemingly random assortment of auspicious creatures such as butterflies, fish, shrimps, and phoenixes and flowers, busy and eclectic in typically nonya fashion. Whimsically, one of the creatures included is a kangaroo!

Cheah (2017, p. 129) illustrates a related example of a sash from Singapore’s National Museum. Ho (1987, p. 97) illustrates another example.

The example here is in fine condition – there is some deterioration to the silk and some light fading. Straits grooms’ sashes are rarely encountered.

References

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.

Cheo, K.B., A Baba Wedding, Marshall Cavendish, 2009.

Ee, R., et alPeranakan 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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