Hairpin

A Peranakan woman, also known as Nonya, would traditionally tie her waist-long hair into a coiled bun, which would be held in place with hairpins. This decorative hairpin is part of a set of three, which includes two other plain hairpins. Chinese silversmiths and goldsmiths marked their shop names on the hairpins that they made. The common practice in Malacca and Singapore was to use three pins whereas in Penang, up to seven hairpins were used. As the bun was worn high near the top of the head and was wound very tightly, older Nonyas face gradual hair loss, receding hairlines, and bald spots. By the 1930s, hairpins were no longer relevant to the younger Nonyas who cut their hair according to the latest Western fashions.

Date/Period
Late 19th-early 20th century
Region
Malacca or Singapore
Dimension
Object size: 11.0 x 2.9 x 2.3 cm
Accession No.
2002-00733
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Edmond Chin
Category
Gold