Special Exhibition

Auspicious Designs: Batik for Peranakan Altars


Colourful and imaginative, batik altar cloths blend traditions and influences, showing how Peranakans adapted and improvised. Called tok wi, altar cloths decorate the fronts of Peranakan altars during important ceremonies, and reflect the strong ritual elements of Chinese Peranakan life in Southeast Asia.


This exhibition focuses on a group of batik altar cloths generously donated to the Peranakan Museum by Matthew and Alice Yapp. Families traditionally used embroidered cloths made in southern China, but in the early 20th century, some began using cloths made of local batik. Produced on the north coast of Java, the batik altar cloths in this exhibition feature traditional Chinese symbols as well as designs from Europe and Southeast Asia. A catalogue of the museum's collection accompanies the exhibition.


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