The kebaya is an open tunic with long sleeves, a collarless neck and front opening. It is a hip-length garment and is gently shaped to flatter the figure. It is fastened in the front by a set of three leaf-shaped or jewelled brooches (kerosang), usually connected by a chain. This kebaya is made from white translucent voile and decorated with lace, which is sewn onto the edges of the plain fabric. Such forms of kebayas were commonly worn from the 1920s onwards among Nyonyas in the Straits Settlements. Eurasian women in the Dutch East Indies were perhaps the first to wear white cotton kebayas trimmed with handmade European lace in the day. Being of a translucent material, this garment would have been worn with an inner, possibly long-sleeved undershirt.

early 20th century
Straits Settlements and Indonesian Archipelago
Gross measurement: 70.4 x 142.5 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Peranakan Museum
Credit Line
Gift of Mr and Mrs Lee Kip Lee
Garments and Accessories