The Peranakans are descendants of foreign traders who settled in Southeast Asia and assimilated certain aspects of local, Southeast Asian culture. This exhibition explores the sarong kebaya – a favoured fashion of Peranakan women for generations. The kebaya is a open tunic fastened with the help of brooches worn with a batik sarong or tubular skirt cloth. The evolution of the kebaya from its roots in 16th-century Islamic garments through its development across Southeast Asia are explored in the exhibition.
Aside from showcasing an impressive donation of kebaya to the Peranakan museum, visitors are treated to important loans from three Dutch museums dating from the 18th to 20th century. (All participating museums in this exhibition being ASEMUS members.) An important piece is an early kebaya with buttons on the sleeves from the collection of the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague.