Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chinese Peranakan - rococco from the east?

I was so stunned when arriving to this Peranakan Mansion in Penang.
My first thought was "Wow...this is rococco from the east."
But I was wrong, totally wrong ^^

The impression of rococco is found in the full of ornamental decoration.
But it never all from the east. The designs are all blended.

In my own opinion and from what I ve read, there are alot of peranakan. Arab peranakan, Indian peranakan, Netherland peranakan and in the topic now is chinese peranakan. The word 'peranakan' itself for me means descendant. It obviously includes acculturation between the man's culture into the land that he landed and resided on.
So, for example my great grand dad, he married to a javanese lady, his ancestors are chinese peranakan, since my great grand dad was a chinese!

In this beautiful mixture there are always 2 cultures in the new culture. They physically look like chinese but they don't speak chinese instead, they speak malay and english of course. And they still have this altar for praying to the ancestors!

The peranakan mansion I visited, was belong to the wealthy man (there are some in Penang). No wonder that it has alot of antiques collection from Europe and China. Some furniture are can be classified as Peranakan itself. Why I said so? It is because they were made of order. The ornaments taken from many style, blend to the unknown one. Actually that what was the lady guide told us. I dont really study about art history in furniture. Some influence cannot be tracking down as lack of knowledge (sigh) --> ornament of Jepara furniture all are from Europe. None are original! Just found it out from my cousin who studies Interior design.

When I went to the kitchen part, as any other wealthy family, the kitchen is another building apart from the main house (we really can get lost easily there), so many familiar thingie inside it. Started from the thermal jug! We have it aloot in Indonesia, yet wes still use it! Lately I found out that it is become an antique n sold for about 30 SGD in Singapore Peranakan Museum. Dang....

the kitchen

the antique thermos I meant, this one is mine, a bit rotten but still useful

Back to Sg , I bought this drama series of Peranakan , the little nonya. It was in chinese with english subtitled ^^ I didnt get to visit the Singapore Peranakan Museum, but I will someday.

As my first awakening encounter, I did enjoy that visit. Felt like getting my root back, what was lost n never been officially n deliberately admitted by the country. Where "Warga Negara Indonesia Peranakan Tionghoa" is written n used instead of "non pribumi".

An Indonesian review about my trip to Penang can be found in here. Enjoy!

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