Arts Exhibition: Peranakan Chinese Heritage of Southeast AsiaMay 19, 2013 - September 15, 2013
Mānoa Campus, East-West Center Gallery, John A. Burns Hall
The Peranakan Chinese are descendents of Chinese traders who settled in Malacca and coastal areas of Java and Sumatra as early as the 15th century. They married into local Southeast Asian communities, as Chinese women were not legally allowed to leave China. In the 19th century, the Peranakan immigrated into the bustling ports of Penang and Singapore during the British colonial expansion. The Peranakan community was successful as merchants and, later, as professionals. These communities are often referred to as Straits Chinese or baba nyonya (baba refers to the males and nyonya to the females).
Peranakan became extremely cosmopolitan and displayed their wealth and artistic sensibilities using items acquired from China, Southeast Asia, and Europe. The EWC exhibition reflects this unique aesthetic and highlights many of the distinctive arts and customs of this community. Photographs and videos focus on wedding and marriage rituals, hospitality customs, funeral customs, and birthing traditions. A wide variety of textiles, clothing, beaded slippers, cooking utensils, and ceramics are included.
East-West Center, Mānoa Campus