This is a three panelled cupboard, possibly made from teak. The crown is ornately carved with motifs such as that of 2 figures, each riding on a ‘qilin’ which is a mythical hoofed Chinese creature. Other motifs include dragons and carps. The dragon is a symbol of vigilance, security, protection and fortune. It also represents the Emperor and imperial power. Fish can symbolise wealth, prosperity and long life. This piece is a wedding wardrobe, also referred to as a ‘leng hong tu’, which translates to mean ‘dragon phoenix cupboard’. The name refers to the bride and bridegroom. Such cupboards were often commissioned in pairs and were not identical but complementary. This cupboard here is an example of one made for a bridegroom. It would have been used for storing his clothes after marriage. The cupboard dates to the early 20th century and was made locally in Penang by Chinese craftsmen.

Early 20th century
Penang, British Malaya
Object size: H236 x W157 x D51.2 cm
Accession No.
Glided wood, glass, mirror and twine.
Collection of
Peranakan Museum

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