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.