Beadwork sampler

This is a beadwork sampler where the motifs are stitched onto the base fabric with needle and thread. The decorative motifs include three different coloured fishes in an aquatic setting. Each fish has a unique colour combination and design on its body. Fish are symbols of prosperity in the Chinese culture. These motifs are created using colourful glass seed or Rocaille beads, also referred to by the Peranakans as “Manek Kacha”. Such beads could have been imported from Europe and were sold locally to households by the travelling haberdasher known to Nonyas as the “klengtong man”. Such samplers were often used by Nonyas as pictorial references and are generally believed to have been derived from European cross stitch books.

Early-mid 20th century
Straits Settlements
Object size: 9.8 x 11.9 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Peranakan Museum
Credit Line
Gift of Mdm Chia Kim Eng
Garments and Accessories