Straits Chinese woman in a lace ‘kebaya’

The ‘kebaya’ is a close-fitting and embroidered blouse usually worn over a batik sarong. It became the preferred wear for young Peranakan Chinese women around the turn of the 20th century over the frumpy and less stylish ‘baju panjang’ (long tunic). The collective term, “Straits Chinese”, refers to the Peranakan Chinese in the former British Straits Settlement – Singapore, Penang and Malacca. The term “Peranakan Chinese” refers to the descendents of Chinese immigrants who began settling in the Malay Archipelago in the 15th century and assimilated themselves in the local culture which eventually led to the creation of a hybrid community unique to this part of the world. The distinctive and rich Peranakan Chinese identity and culture are a result of the amalgamation of Malay, Chinese and other influences.

Early - mid 20th century
Singapore and Malaysia
Image size: 20.5 x 14 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
National Museum of Singapore
Photographs and Negatives