A place to learn the unique culture of the Peranakan
The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is one of the heritage buildings in Penang showcasing the unique culture of the Peranakan community, who are descendents of Chinese immigrants to British Malaya in the late 15th and 16th century.
They are commonly known by the locals as the Baba and Nyonya. Having settled along the Straits of Malacca for generations, the Baba and Nyonya are sometimes referred as Straits Chinese. Due to intercultural marriage with the locals, the Peranakan became assimilated to some local Malay customs and then being influenced by colonial British. Hence, creating a rich lifestyle and tradition.
This private mansion was formerly served as the residence of Kapitan Chung Keng Quee who was a respected figure in the early colonial settlement. The building has been restored a few years ago while maintaining much of its original materials and architecture. It is now being converted into a Baba-Nyonya museum, housing large collection of antiques and collectibles.
Advertorial posters outside the main entrance
Since we had more than five people in our group, we were given a complimentary guided tour by an experienced staff (prior arrangement is essential). We were told that this beautiful double-storey mansion has been used as the filming location of a popular Singaporean drama series which explained the advertorial posters at the entrance of the building.
Intricate carving and gold painted panels
Stepping into the mansion was like traversing back in time. I was amazed by the intricate carvings of wooden panels painted in gold. The tour guide explained to us in detail on every section of the mansion from its history, functional use to the raw materials used in building the house.
Infinity mirror at the western style dining hall
We were led to visit the waiting lounge followed by the central court and the western style formal dining hall which was filled with teak wood furniture. Adjacent to the central court was the main staircase featuring European designed ironwork with handrail imported from Glasgow, Scotland.
The main staircase
The family living hall in the upper floor
The upper floor consisted family living hall and bedrooms. There were also traditional bridal rooms featuring matrimonial ornaments.
I was intrigued by a special sewing room which showcased old sewing machine, traditional nyonya (women) embroidery blouses, beaded shoes and hair accessories.
Going back to ground level, we were guided straight to the back of the mansion where the kitchen was. It was surprisingly spacious with all kinds of traditional cooking utensils on display.
Kitchen staff adorned in beautiful nyonya attire
There was also a small cafe within the kitchen serving delicious nyonya delicacy and desserts. The kitchen staff were mostly ladies adorned in traditional Peranakan attire. I thought it was a brilliant idea to showcase this unique culture. We were then told that some of them were indeed Peranakan descendants.
The mansion is also available for hire on special occasions like weddings and anniversary celebration.
We spent about two hours in this mansion and it was well-worth the time and money. There were so much to see and learn about the Peranakan culture. Definitely a highly recommended place to visit in Penang.