Peranakan Research Project

View of Baba Bling exhibition at musee du quai Branly, 2010

The term ’Peranakan’, in Singapore, refers generally to the community of Chinese communities whose ancestors’ intermarriage with local Malays brought about a unique fusion of cultures. Peranakan Chinese culture is an example of cross-cultural fusion in South-east Asia during the colonial period, mainly in Singapore, Malacca and Indonesia. In similar ways, Chinese mestizos developed a unique cultural identity through assimilation in the Philippines. Continuing the phenomenon of cultural diasporas was the transcontinental emigration of many Peranakan Chinese communities from Indonesia to Holland in the 1950s.

Objective

 

Making cultural diversity visible

The ASEMUS project departed from the objective to strengthen Peranakan cultural identity and making the heritage visible in today’s multicultural society. The project gathered museums in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Netherlands. Leading partners were the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore and the National Museum of Ethnology in the Netherlands. Through staff exchanges and inventory work in the collections objects of Peranakan were identified and researched.

An exhibition featuring Peranakan artefacts from the Singapore museum was showcased in the Ayala Museum, Philippines as part of their themed festival on Chinese Diaspora: Art Streams from the Mainland in 2007. In 2008, a museum managed by the Asian Civilisations Museum, the Peranakan Museum, was opened to the public. In early October 2010 till end January 2011, the Peranakan culture was also the theme for an exhibition jointly organised by the Asian Civiliastions Museum and the musee du quai Branly, in Paris.

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