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Penang’s Pinang Peranakan Museum

A trip to Penang will not be complete without a tour of some of it’s history. Especially historical sites which still play an active role in our lifetime. One such is the Pinang Peranakan Museum has stood the test time and also featured in TVs and movies, notably The Little Nyonya, The Amazing Race, and Crazy Rich Asians, recently.

Where is the Pinang Peranakan Museum

The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is in a distinctive green-hue colour at Church Street in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. As it’s name says, it is a museum dedicated to Penang’s Peranakan heritage. The museum showcases thousands of Peranakan artifacts, antiques, collectibles, interior design, and customs.

Pinang Peranakan Museum’s History

Before becoming a museum in modern times, in the past, it was a residential mansion. The mansion was built by Chung Kee Quee, the Kapitan China of Perak and one of the richest men in Penang in the late 19th century. He named the mansion: Hai Kee Chan (Sea Remembrance Hall in Penang Hokkien). 

Inspired by a combination of Chinese and English architecture and designs of the time; the mansion has English floor tiles, Scottish ironworks, and Chineese carved-wood panels. 

Though not a Baba himself, the Chinese courtyard house was much like a typical large Peranakan home. The Peranakans, otherwise known as the Straits Chinese, are the Babas and Nyonyas. They were a prominent Chinese community in Penang and this part of the world. Babas refer to Peranakan males, and Nyonyas refer to Peranakan women and young girls.

Exploring the Peranakan Museum

The courtyard on the ground floor is open air to allow natural lighting and ventilation to flow freely through the mansion. The English floor tiles, Chinese artworks, and Scottish columns brings in the feels.

Here is a vast dining hall where guests would dine. It is an interesting combination of China plates and cups, and English deco. 

Richly decorated with European-styled teak furniture, Victorian ceramic figures and glass epergnes, affluent Baba households even have a separate western-styled dining room meant for entertaining peers and European guests. The dinner service includes porcelain, glass and silverware, all imported from Europe.

Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Upstairs are different rooms with various artifacts and antiques from East to West. 

Back downstairs at the kitchen.

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