Friday, May 06, 2005

Vintage Nyonya kebayas!

First, a big thank you to my friends and fellow knitters. Your encouraging comments are well appreciated and does wonders to spire me on. :)

Second, this is a totally knit unrelated post. So for those not interested, I guess you can stop reading here. It's a vintage craft post. So, on to the topic of the day.

The Nyonya Kebaya
There are quite a few varieties of kebayas around. Nyonya kebaya, pronounced as no-nia ker-buy-yar, is one of my favourites. It has it's roots in Peranakan communities in Malacca and Penang. They have a very unique blend of Malay and Chinese influence in their culture. Females are referred to as Nyonas and the males, babas in their dialect. Hence, the name Nyonya kebaya.

Traditionally, it is worn with a shift/cami inside and a fited, embroidered, translucent blouse outside, fastened with a set of chained brooches called kerongsang. A matching hand-drawn batik sarong goes with it. Nowadays there are many modern adaptations to it.

First Pic : Traditional wear Second Pic : Modern Adaptation (These pictures are taken from Star newspaper)

There is also a book on Nyonya Kebayas published by Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, wife of Malaysia President that is out in the market.

In the olden days, the translucent blouse is made of voile. It is now very hard to find the material as most are factory made and uses linen, cotton and other like materials. Handiwork is very intensive. It's an age old elegant classic over here and very expensive. It's haute couture in our culture.

I can go on and on but please I'd invite you to this site. For those who are already bored with this story, I'll stop here. For those interested to find out out, please read more about it here (*Highly recommended) and here. My short intro doesn't do this justice.

Now, for all those wondering where this post is leading to...:) I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm one very very lucky girl. I got these vintage nyonya kebayas from a dear elderly neighbour, Aunty X. They belonged to her mother. Her mother use to love wearing these and it was passed on to her daughter, Aunty X. She doesn't wear these so she just kept them. She asked me to choose from her collection. So I ended with 6 of these lovely vintages.

Notice all the lacy hand work.

Now, off to buy some sarongs for evening wear. For a more casual day wear, I can always wear it as a jacket with a simple cami and jeans to match..:)


Mimi said...

What a lucky girl! Those Nyonya kebayas are gorgeous, no wonder you are so enthusiastic about it. And you got 6!!! I was trying to pick the prettiest and notice that I love them all...

michelle said...

i'm so jealous!! i want one too!!!

claudia said...

Those are really beautiful. Thanks for sharing...