This rectangular beadwork panel uses tiny ‘seed beads’ or ‘Rocaille beads’ to form various decorative motifs. The main techniques used in Peranakan beadwork are stringing, threading or stitching on fabric. This piece features motifs of the peony, roses in full bloom, butterflies and birds. The flowers in full bloom and butterflies are fertility symbols and represent love, romance and abundance. These are recurring symbols associated with the Peranakan wedding. This piece is possibly a bolster cover. These were used in the wedding chamber, placed on beds as decorative pieces when the wedding bed was not in use. Pieces like these were only used during the twelve day wedding and subsequently kept until the next time that the bed was used. There were usually two pillows and one bolster on the wedding bed, all of which would be covered with decorative beadwork or embroidery when not in use.

Early 20th century
Straits Settlements
Object size: 31.5 x 54 cm
Accession No.
Facetted glass beads
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum

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