This past December I visited the Peranakan Museum in Singapore. The term Peranakan, in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, refer to native-born people of mixed local and foreign (Chinese, Indian etc.) descent, and the Museum explores the culture of Peranakan communities in Southeast Asia. Among the various interests in the museum, I thought the pièce de résistance was this magnificently beaded tablecloth.
The Museum's description dates the piece, composed of over one million European glass beads on cotton, to the early 20th century and from the Malaysian state of Penang, and notes that it was probably commissioned from professional beadworkers in special workshops locally or in China for the purposes of the elaborate 12-day Peranakan wedding. The combination of pink and yellow on a turquoise ground is apparently characteristic of Penang Peranakan beadwork, but the design of various European and South American birds and flowers, with only a few Asian species, is considered highly original.
My favorite bird on the tablecloth
I believe this is a Peranakan wedding couple.
And here's the reason why we were in Singapore: my husband's roommate's wedding!