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Ornaments for the sweetmeat box

National Heritage Board, Singapore

National Heritage Board, Singapore

Java, Batavia, late 19th century
Glass beads, metal purl, and sequins netted or plaited with wire and padded with string or cotton; gold leaf and attached hair (?)
Peranakan Museum [2015-02105]

These unusual and delightful beaded figures reflect the nyonyas’ fondness for classic Chinese stories. Replete with “feather” headdresses and weapons, they represent male and female generals from Sie Djin Koei, a tale about the exploits of the Tang dynasty general Xue Rengui.
The figures were used to decorate the chien-hap (or bit-chien), a box for sweetmeat offerings placed on the altar in Peranakan Chinese homes.

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  • Title: Ornaments for the sweetmeat box

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