Auspicious Designs and Hidden Meanings in Peranakan Altar Cloths (Conducted in English)

Organised by: National Heritage Board
  • Date:
    30 Sep 2017
  • Time:
  • Venue:
    Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
    Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial HallSun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
  • Language:
  • Admission:
    Free admission for Singaporeans and PRs


Altar cloths, also known as tok wi in Hokkien, were used to decorate the fronts of Peranakan altars during Chinese New Year or other special occasions. Families traditionally used embroidered cloths made in southern China, which were often embellished with traditional auspicious motifs such as the dragon, qilin, Eight Daoist Immortals, or the Three Star Deities. In the early 20th century, some families began to commission altar cloths made from local batik. These textiles produced on the north coast of Java featured traditional Chinese symbols while incorporating designs from Europe and Southeast Asia. Learn more about the auspicious motifs featured on Peranakan altar cloths and how they have been re-imagined and adapted to better suit the Peranakan community in this sharing session conducted by Mr Alvin Yapp, owner of a Singapore-based Peranakan heritage museum, The Intan.