beaded slippers Peranakan style

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.

Peranakan beaded slipper

Peranakan beaded slipper

Peranakan beaded slipper

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.

strings of peranakan cut beads

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.

painting by May Oon from an old photograph

templates of slipper on wooden frame

templates of slipper on wooden frame

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.

Little Shophouse Singapore

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:

The Peranakan Kitchen

Antique Jewellery worn by the Peranakans

A Trip to the Peranakan Museum

A Stroll down Armenian Street

Little Museum Café


19 thoughts on “beaded slippers Peranakan style

  1. CurlyTraveller says:

    What an interesting read, Cath! I went there last saturday. For the first time, even though I am in Singapore since 4 and a half years now. I loved it and intend to go back there, since this time I came more for the Biennale.

  2. Inge Hartgerink says:

    You can get classes in this kind of beading at Rumah Bebe at 113 East Coast Road and at the shop part of the restaurant next door Kim Choo at 109 East Coast Road.

  3. violetannie63 says:

    Thank you for following my blog 🙂
    I love the slippers featured here – so pretty! Thanks for posting. 🙂

    • lizzierosejewellery says:

      Wow really? I’m glad I brought back a memory for you. They are so pretty and delicate, I wouldn’t dare wear them myself but would love to make a pair with all that beading! Thanks for your comment, lovely! Cath

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