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John Thomson photographed Singapore's residents with a sensitivity and artistry missing from the work of his contemporaries. Depicted with some artistic license, this nyonya is seated on an ornately carved Bombay chair next to a Chinese porcelain vase, clasping a book on her lap. Literacy among Peranakan women would still be a few decades away. She wears a pale silk or cotton baju panjang with a batik sarong.

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  • Title: Peranakan Girl. Singapore, ca. 1860s.

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