Penang, early 20th century
Silk damask embroidered with silk floss (knot stitch) and metal thread; attached knotwork silk fringe
National Museum of Singapore [2000-01389]
These embroidered curtains hung at the front of a four-poster matrimonial bed. The design comprises some 50 different birds, plants, and Daoist and Buddhist symbols. Some motifs can have more than one auspicious meaning. The paired fish, for instance, is a Buddhist symbol for freedom and an emblem of marital happiness.