Straits Chinese ‘nyonya’

This Straits Chinese ‘nyonya’ is wearing a ‘baju panjang’, a long and loose fitting blouse, fastened and adorned with ‘kerosangs’ (brooches) and worn over a batik sarong. The standard attire for Straits Chinese women at the time, the ‘baju panjang’ was suitable for the hot and humid climate as it allowed for ventilation and helped the ‘nyonyas’ maintain a modest appearance in keeping with the cultural mores of the day. The ‘baju panjang’, however, lost its appeal with the younger ‘nyonyas’ at the turn of the century with the introduction of the more stylish ‘baju kebaya’ (tight-fitting blouse worn over sarong).

Early 20th century
Singapore and Malaysia
Object size: L:13.3cm W:10.4cm
Accession No.
Collection of
National Museum of Singapore
Photographs and Negatives