The Peranakans, also referred to as the Babas and Nyonyas, was a famous community of Chinese who had a unique lifestyle and followed matchless customs. They left behind a remarkable heritage of antiques, as well as a plethora of cultural influences such as language and cuisine that have been taken over by those who live in Penang today. If you happen to be the city, you should definitely take a look at the Peranakan Mansion, which is one of the most popular places to visit in Malaysia.
Pinang Peranakan Mansion - History
The Pinang Peranakan Mansion was built by Chung Keng Quee, a millionaire philanthropist from China who was highly appreciated by European and Chinese communities. He wanted his mansion to feature the Peranakan architectural design, so he opted for stylish ceramic floor tiles that were brought from England, graceful carved-wood screen and panels for the walls and doors from China, and also for marvelous iron casted art work that came from Scotland for the railings and balconies of the structure.
The mansion was refurnished and transformed into a “Baba Nyonya” Museum to display the interesting culture and lifestyle of the Peranakans. It is positioned on a land that belonged to the Ghee Hin Clan’s headquarters, a rival of the Peranakan community. Tourists who don’t know where to go in Malaysia should by no means miss this outstanding building.
Pinang Peranakan Mansion - Design
At the main entrance of the structure you’ll have the chance to admire a pair of complex and spectacularly carved Chinese wooden panels that are painted in gold. Next to the main entrance, you’ll see two different side entrances that feature a decorative wrought iron gate hinged on to an imposing pillar made of concrete. Two metal crowns are situated on top of the pillar’s sides and they’re a sign of glory of the British Empire era in Penang. The left hand side entrance guides you to the ancestral temple whose roof is adorned with ceramic multicolored sculptures, whereas the other side entrance invites you to explore the lovely court yard. From there, you’ll be able to see the veranda and its floral designed cast iron railings which are painted in gold and feature designs from the Victorian era. Featuring such a unique design, it’s no wonder why visiting this mansion is one of the main things to do in Malaysia.
The floors are linked by an impressive, gorgeous staircase, whereas the astonishing balustrades made of ornamental cast iron feature typical European designs. The entire mansion is adorned with European-styled teak furniture, as well as with beautiful glass epergnes and many Victorian ceramic figures.
Artifacts, collectables and exhibits
The inside of the mansion offers visitors the possibility to admire a plethora of collectables and antiques, as well as artifacts exhibitions. The structure is divided into multiple wings and includes the waiting lounge, central chamber, western-styled dining room where you’ll observe the remarkable dinner service that comprises porcelain, glass, as well as silverware brought from Europe and the kitchen which is considered to be a very important room in the Peranakan culture. You will never regret having visited this mansion, which is one of the best answers to the question “what to do in Penang?”
The upper floor displays the family living hall, customary bridal room with distinctive Nyonya matrimonial bed, bedrooms, as well as the sewing room. Here you will see numerous antiques such as artistic brooches (“keronsang”), metal belts, hair pins (“cuck sanggal”), bracelets and various other women accessories. Furthermore, you can also admire other fascinating artifacts like the enormous vintage standing camera, Nyonya long blouses, beaded shoes, a very old barber chair, and embroideries. Photographing all these magnificent items is definitely one of the best things to do in Penang.
In case what you’ve read so far hasn’t convinced you and you are still wondering what to do in Malaysia, you should know that the Pinang Peranakan Mansion showcases the Peranakan Chinese culture, being also a symbol of the multicolored heritage of the few wealthy Babas and Nyonyas families that lived in the past. The structure is now completely renovated and restored to its previous glory, illustrating the luxurious lifestyle, traditions and customs of this unique, truly interesting community.
The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is positioned on Church Street, George Town, on the famous Penang Island, Malaysia. Entering the museum costs RM20 and the overall experience will certainly exceed your expectations.