Last Saturday, I had the privilege to go for a curated tour of a special exhibition at the Peranakan Museum. It’s called Baba Bling: The Peranakans and Their Jewellery and it’s an exhibition of the jewellery worn by the Peranakan Nyonyas (younger women) and the Bibiks (older women).
Speaking of which, remember Bibik Belacan? I vaguely remember watching it on tv, but the details escape me.
Anyway, the exhibition featured over 300 pieces of Peranakan jewellery from the 19th century till today. Those Peranakan women wore a whole lot of jewellery back then man! (And maybe even now?)
From the top of my head, a typical Nyonya would wear:
- necklace, usually more than one
- kerosang (like fancy ornate gold brooches used to fasten their blouses)
- hair pins
- belt (can’t be seen, but they wear a gold, fancy one anyway!)
- keychain (serious!)
Yeah…I think they might just be more that I missed out.
Anyway, the curated tour was pretty awesome. Our tour guide (oops I forgot her name!) is actually a voluteer guide and is a medical doctor on weekdays! She was really knowledgeable and made the exhibition much more interesting.
To be really honest, I think that without the tour guide, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the exhibition that much. I’m the kind of person that always gets the audio guide when I’m in a museum, so I think that’s just me. It just makes the exhibits come alive, don’t you think?
But of course, you can visit the exhibition without going on the curated tour. There are tons of videos and information boards telling you the significance of the jewellery and explaining the history behind it all.
In fact, if I had more time I’d have watched all the videos and read all the information boards, but I’m anal like that (or typical Singaporean? Wanna get my all my money’s worth, hehe)
Here’s some reasons to go for Baba Bling:
1) Find out what it means when a Peranakan lady wears jewellery that’s made of silver with pearls or why why it’s rare to find hairpins in sets of 5 rather than the original 7 that they came out in
2) Look at photos of old Peranakan families and couples and try and get fashion inspiration
3) Get awesome printed gold stickers with different symbols that hold significance to the Peranakans –> This is actually meant for kids, but you should try and get your hand on it too! It’s so fun to go to the different machines to “collect” the different symbols!
4) The jewellery is so rare and their designs authentic that photography isn’t even allowed in the exhibition, for fear of copying. Hardcore!
5) Check out the building. I think the design is so lovely!
All in all, it was a charming way to spend Saturday afternoon. I’d recommend going for this exhibition, as well as the Peranakan Museum Collection. For me, it was an eye-opener to learn more about a culture I don’t know much about.
Went with Sherms who brought Squid along, and Ingrid came as well. I brought my friend Iris with me, who was visiting from Canada, and she enjoyed the exhibition too, especially since she’d never heard about the Peranakan people before. We also met Kanika and Dorothy from SMU as well!
Thanks to Riley from NHB for inviting!
More information about Baba Bling:
It runs from 29th May to 13th Dec
Peranakan Museum is at 39 Armenian Street
Opening hours: Mon 1pm – 7pm, Tues-Sun 9.30pm -7.30pm (till 9pm on Fridays)
Admission charges available here. Did you know that on Friday nights, charges are half-priced, at $3 for adults and $1.50 for students. Awesome!