Between the 15th and 17th centuries, the Malay archipelago saw an influx of Chinese migrants. They built up close relationships with locals, some intermarried, and over time a fusion culture - a harmonious blend of Malay and Chinese - emerged.
Peranakans are the descendants of these migrants. Many of these men ("Babas") and women ("Nonyas") found success in their businesses and became wealthy. Their wealth was reflected in their clothing and accessories which were adorned with intricate beadwork and elaborate embroidery. Nonyas take great pride in the intricacy of their workmanship to this day.
This purse was made by a Nonya we met in Malacca, by threading together thousands of tiny glass beads. On one side of the purse is a haughty starling perched on a tree branch, and on the other is a pair of young playful finches.
Measures: 8.5cm wide x 11cm tall (including clasp)