This is a ‘nyiru’, a flat bamboo tray that was used for drying and storing spices and herbs. It is lacquered an auspicious red when it is used with the ‘gantang’ (rice measure) during the ‘chiu thau’ or hair-combing ceremony in Peranakan weddings. The chiu thau ceremony was held simultaneously in their respective homes at a pre-determined auspicious hour and it was considered the most important rite of the traditional 12-day Peranakan wedding as the bride and bridegroom were both initiated into adulthood in this ceremony. Stepping onto the nyiru is symbolic of stepping into adulthood, where the bride and bridegroom would thereafter assume a new identity, with all the responsibilities that came with being adults. A bright red circle was painted in the center of the nyiru and the bride and bridegroom would sit on the gantang, which was placed within the circle, for the duration of the rite.

Late 19th century
Singapore, Straits Settlements
Unknown Type: 142 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Fibre Work