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A Showcase of Nyonya Kebayas from the Collection of Datin Seri Endon Mahmood

Cultivating a love for beautiful things from a young age, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, has been privileged enough to collect artifacts from all over the world. But she says that it is at home in Malaysia that she has found the greatest treasures. One of these is the Nyonya kebaya, which she has been collecting for the past decade. Her love and admiration for the artistry and skill that goes into producing these Peranakan works of art has inspired the writing of this delightful book, her first, on its beauty and history.


The Nyonya kebaya says it all, without revealing all. It evokes a romance of the past, when Nyonyas stood proud yet demure in sheer silhouettes of wonderfully embroidered voile blouses and richly coloured sarongs.

From the way the kebaya blouses wrapped the bodies of their wearers to the stunning colours and embroidered designs, the Nyonya kebaya is not merely a dress, it is a work of art.

Emerging into mainstream fashion in the 1930s, the kebaya was originally an Indonesian Malay dress that was adopted by the Nyonyas, who transformed it into a glamorous, eye-catching translucent blouse.

Although it has been superseded by Western fashion, the Nyonya kebaya is still one of the most recognisable and enduring of Malaysian fashion icons. Here and there, one can still see Nyonyas decked out in kebayas and all their finery. Having been part of the Malay Peninsula's history since the 16th century, the Nyonyas and Babas of the Chinese Peranakan communities in Malacca, Penang and Singapore (formerly known as the Straits States) were true multiculturalists from the very beginning. Their knack for combining the best of different cultural influences, from the Chinese, Malay and European, contributed to the rich Peranakan heritage that is well known for its distinctive cuisine, architecture, jewellery, furnishings and costumes.

Drawn to the loveliness of the Nyonya kebaya, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood has been collecting kebayas for the past few years, traveling to Penang, Malacca and Singapore.

Datin Seri Endon's passion for local arts has inspired her to share her impressions of the Nyonya kebaya in this striking 140-page coffee table book devoted to this charming fashion icon.

The highlight of this book is the sumptuous photographic showcase of kebayas from Datin Seri Endon's own collection.

Now, the artistry and beauty of the Nyonya kebaya can be part of your collection too.

The Nyonya Kebaya Book by Datin Seri Endon Mahmood Yes, I would like to buy The Nyonya Kebaya by Datin Seri Endon Mahmood


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