The kebaya is a hip length blouse usually with elaborate embroidery on the front lapels and the joinings to the back of the Kebaya around the hems. It has a v-shaped neckline and the front is fastened by three ‘kerosangs’ or brooches. The origin of the Nonya kebaya is open to speculation. It may have been derived from the Portuguese ‘kobaya’, a lace trimmed blouse or also possibly from the Arabic ‘abaya’, a type of tunic that opened from the front. This piece is possibly made from a fine cotton fabric such as voile. White floral motifs, together with motifs of orange and yellow flowers, are embroidered on the fabric as decoration. The kebaya was usually worn with the sarong, a length of cloth sewn together to form a tube, which was then folded into a skirt.

Early 20th century
Straits Settlements
Gross measurement: 69.5 x 128.3 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Peranakan Museum
Garments and Accessories

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