THE HISTORY BEHIND THE SHOES
Who are the Peranakans
In the early 15th century, a princess from the Chinese Ming Dynasty, Hang Li Poh, arrived in Malacca (a state in Malaysia) to be presented as a bride to the Malacca Sultan. Part of her entourage included 500 youths and several hundred women attendants of noble descent, to wait on her and keep the princess company in her new home.
This entourage settled down in Bukit Cina in the Malay Archipelago, eventually inter-marrying with the local Malays. The mixed marriages marked the beginning of a new generation of people in Malaya, the Peranakans or Straits Born Chinese. The men were called Babas and the ladies were called Nyonyas.
Theirs is a heritage unique to Southeast Asia; a mixture of Malay & Chinese cultures, with a dash of the English way of life.
Nyonya Beaded Shoes
Peranakan beaded slippers (kasot manek), is a type of shoe that dates back to the early twentieth century. It refers to the beaded footwear worn by a nyonya to complete her Sarong Kebaya (as seen on the right) outfit.
The slippers were made of cut beads, which are now highly treasured as these beads are no longer available.
Vintage kasot manek are intricately and finely stitched, a testimony to the fine workmanship of yesteryears.
The intricacy and fine workmanship of a pair of beaded slippers is a hallmark of highly accomplished Peranakan women, (Nyonyas), whose skills in embroidery and beadwork are highly valued.
Nyonya Beaded Dance Shoes
We, at Steppin’ Out, are totally enamoured by these shoes and have taken upon ourselves to promote them to the dance community worldwide.
After a lengthy search, Steppin’ Out is now in collaboration with skillful masters in the craft, and have commissioned them to create lovely versions of the beaded footwear into dance shoes.
Now you can wear these beautiful creations not just to special occasions, but also flaunt them on the dance floor!
We welcome you to visit our Shoes Gallery, and own a piece of the Peranakan heritage today.