The Straits Collection is The Rug Maker’s contemporary interpretation of Peranakan or Straits Chinese history and culture, inspired by details in the personal effects of its people and their daily activities. Peranakan objects are known to be ornate and loud, and we have sought to recreate this cultivated art in our high quality rugs that would stand out in a modern home.
The first of the collection depicts a traveller’s journey across lands and seas, driven from their homeland by disasters, economic necessity and political disturbance to where he would eventually leave his lineage.
The early Chinese exodus accepted cultural assimilation with the local inhabitants in order to survive and thrive. When Western colonization arrived, they once again integrated their life with European influence.
In Peranakan batik designs, most plants are depicted as a floral spray – a fruit or flower-bearing stem or branch – symbolizing posterity. Flowers are significant among the Chinese; especially the lotus, which symbolizes purity as its beautiful blossom grows out of muddy water where it is rooted.
Nyonyas would gather around the table to gossip, chew sireh, or chit chat while playing Cheki, a popular card game originating from Malacca. Cheki was so immensely popular and addictive that many Nyonyas pawned or sold their jewellery just to try their luck at the game.
An outstanding feature of Peranakan culture is the cuisine, which has strong Malay and Indonesian influences. Besides the food, the Peranakan kitchen is also known for their Art Nouveau tiles with designs predominately based on floral motifs and auspicious Chinese elements.
The two most distinctive decorative motifs found on Nyonya wares are undoubtedly the phoenix and the peony, signifying marriage and fertility. The Phoenix is a symbol of the matriarchal infrastructure of a Peranakan household, representing supreme beauty and grace. The Chinese believe that the Phoenix can only been seen in times of order and harmony.