Last weekend, Jeff and I spent an afternoon at the Intan, a family-run home museum in the heart of Joo Chiat. Contact Singapore hosted the event and a few other bloggers were there, too.
The Intan houses a large collection of Peranakan antiques, furniture, and other objects that owner Alvin Yapp has gathered over the past twenty years. Peranakan means "locally born," and was a title the Straits-born Chinese gave themselves to differentiate themselves from the Chinese who came to Singapore from mainland China.
The mother of pearl inlaid in this furniture was said to help keep a house cool.
Wealthy Peranakans commissioned the kilns of the Chinese emperor to create their own personal porcelain designs.
A pair of beaded slippers. The faceted beads used for these types of slippers came from France. The beads were originally considered defective because they had cuts in them, but the Peranakan women preferred these beats as they shined more.
Alvin eagerly gave us a tour of his home museum and shared with us the rich Peranakan history and culture. The things we learned about are so diverse and multi-faceted; it is very fitting that the Intan means "rose-cut diamond" in Malay.
What started as a personal collection of antiques has now become a museum and cultural center for all things Peranakan. Alvin's unique home museum also serves as a space for art shows, performances, exhibitions, and private parties. Tours of the Intan are by appointment only and can be arranged by calling +65 9338 2234.Thanks to Alvin and the folks at Contact Singapore for the wonderful afternoon!