Further to my trip to The Peranakan Museum, I am finally getting around to sorting through the hundreds of photos I took there (have camera, will go crazy)! This week I have decided to feature the traditional beaded slippers worn by the Peranakan female, or Nyonya.
The slippers were popular in the 1930’s and the more colourful ones were generally made for special occasions, such as birthdays or Chinese New Year. For sad occasions, more sombre and plain patterns were made.
The front of the slipper was beaded over a design, usually cross-stitched first, and then the beads added one-by-one afterwards. The fabric was stretched on a wooden frame and the skilled Nyonya would sit on the floor with the frame clipped into a wooden holder to balance it.
There are a few skilled bead workers still making slippers in Singapore, take a look at this article to see a local craftsman, Robert Sng who makes the slippers in The Little Shophouse on Bussorah Street, Kampong Glam along with his sister, to see his handiwork up close. I always call into this shop, it’s a treasure trove! I spoke to Robert recently and he explained he learned the skill by watching an ‘auntie’ as he played around her skirts.
Some examples currently on display as of Sep 2013:
I love beads and I love cross-stitch so this craft is my idea of heaven, not sure if I have the infinite patience though! Would love to hear from anyone who crafts in a similar way to the Peranakan beaders and see your creations.
My other posts relating to the Peranakan Musuem: