A Visit to The Intan

6/6/11

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! 

9 comments:

  1. well written Flora ..... and the images certainly give the reader a 'taste' of what to expect!

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  2. i would love to see that all in person, you just keep coming with the amazing travel photos!

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  3. This is lovely. I love Peranakan culture, although it's sad that I don't know more about it. My grandfather is Peranakan and it's something that I'm very proud of and would really like to preserve, except I just don't know enough about Peranakan culture (and neither do I speak that pidgin Malay) to really be able to call myself Peranakan. All I can say is that I have Peranakan blood.

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  4. wow! I am so glad I found your blog, it is so cool that you are living in Singapore...I am going to have to browse around some more to find out why you are living there!

    following ya'll!

    -ashley

    Adventures of Newlyweds

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  5. Interesting!! I have to see that! Thanks!

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  6. I had never heard of the Intan before. Thanks for a great tip and a lovely post!

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  7. I don't know how many years it was before I arrived at a formulated philosophy that the happiest thing to do, always, when visiting an individual or a country, is to admit, by word or manner, how much I'm finding there that my life had lacked hitherto

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