Malacca or Singapore, early 20th century
Silk velvet worked with lametta couched over cardboard pieces (tekat timbul)l metal purl cutwork and S-ing; sequins fastened with metal purl; stitched glass beads; silk floss in satin stitch; couched cordonnet
A 31 x 15.4 cm; B 31 x 15.4 cm
National Museum of Singapore [G-0134-A&B]
Modelled on the Chinese embroidered square, this two-part panel was attached to the front of a man's wedding surcoat. In the late nineteenth century, some wealthy Peranakan Chinese purchased or received honours from the Chinese government. This entitled them to dress in official's robes, with an embroidered square emblazoned on the surcoat. The embroidery does not always show clearly in the photographs, but when it is visible the diagonally striped lishui (standing water) pattern is generally evident along the bottom part of the square. Such surcoats were also worn by Peranakan Chinese grooms in Malaysia and Indonesia, and the lishui border on their embroidered squares can also be seen in photographs and in extant examples.