The Peranakan Museum pays homage to the history and timeless elegance of the kebaya.
Contributed By Yong Yung Shin
You can always count on a Peranakan lady to be elegant and well-groomed. The Peranakan Museum pays tribute to the ultimate expression of identity for Peranakan women worldwide—the kebaya. Its latest major exhibition, Sarong Kebaya: Peranakan Fashion And Its International Sources, traces the evolution of the sarong kebaya from its roots in 16th-century Islamic garments through the many cultures that contributed to its development as a distinctive fashion item.
On display are 131 exhibits, the highlights of which include selections from the Peranakan Museum and batik masterpieces from three museums in the Netherlands, including the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. The exhibition is organized by guest curator Peter Lee and Peranakan Museum curator Jackie Yoong.
“This exhibition breaks new ground by carefully considering the historical sources of the sarong kebaya. Like Peranakan culture generally, its costume is a complex fusion of several cultures, with sources in India, the Islamic world, China, Southeast Asia, and Europe,” says Dr. Alan Chong, director of the Asian Civilisations Museum.
Half the exhibit will be replaced in October 2011 to allow a greater number of textiles to be displayed, and also to avoid prolonged exposure of the pieces to light. The exhibition will be complemented by other family programs and events.
Sarong Kebaya: Peranakan Fashion And Its International Sources runs until Feb. 26, 2012 at the Peranakan Museum (39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941, +65 6336 2983). Log on to www.peranakanmuseum.sg for more information.