Straits Chinese Table Cover

Straits Chinese (Peranakan) are the Chinese merchant class that left China, settled around the straits of Malacca and eventually married and blended into the local population. The straits were a vital trade route connecting Europe and India to China and Japan.

The ethnic Chinese people brought their ancestral traditions with them but also incorporated local arts and crafts with British colonial sensibilities, all adapted to the sub-tropical climate of their new surroundings. Glass beads are generally not used in mainland China but along the trade routes they could be easily obtained and therefore found their way into Straits- Chinese culture, craft and textile.

The red wool ground of this rather large panel is embroidered using a voided satin stitch, where a gap (known as the “water channel”) is left between blocks of solid satin stitches. Couched gold thread embroidery outlines the images of florals and butterflies.

Circa: 19th century

Origin: China

Material: Silk, glass beads, and wool

Condition: Minor loss to beads and to the blue embroidery, very good condition

Dimensions: 41" x 21", 23" including beaded fringe

Inventory number: TX5194



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