Majie’s Comb

This comb belonged to a majie, a Cantonese female domestic helper. In adherence to tradition, majies underwent a sor hei (combing up) ceremony where they took an oath before a statuette of Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) to remain unmarried and celibate. Sor hei, in literal terms, means to “comb up” the hair into a bun or plait. Many majies chose to undergo sor hei as a socially accepted form of singlehood, choosing sworn sisterhood as an alternative to the institution of marriage.

Date/Period
Mid-20th century
Region
Singapore
Dimension
Object size: 11.2 x 6.0 x 1.6 cm
Accession No.
2017-00898
Material
Wood
Collection of
National Museum of Singapore
Credit Line
Gift of Dr Mark Lu
Category
Folklife Collection