Featured Antique? Chinese? Silver Asian belt. TYIA for any help

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by gauntlettgems, May 15, 2024 at 9:38 PM.

  1. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    IMG_4485.jpeg IMG_4478.jpeg IMG_4479.jpeg IMG_4481.jpeg
    Hi,
    Looking to help a friend with what she found. The marks are barely legible but hoping someone recognizes something about this.

    What are your thoughts on age, origin, and anything else about. It weighs almost 97 grams
     
    stracci, Figtree3, johnnycb09 and 5 others like this.
  2. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

  3. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    Ty!
     
    johnnycb09 and Marote like this.
  4. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    It is a lovely Peranakan/Straits Chinese silver belt. Singapore or mainland Malaysia.

    The first mark, in photo #2 says something about the silver content. Silver and something else. We need one of our Chinese readers, maybe @Asian Fever or @Kaiserpoo are around?:)
    I don't think Shangas reads Chinese.:)
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2024 at 10:10 AM
  5. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Oh, well I'll head off back home then, if nobody needs me...

    But yes, it's a Peranakan-Chinese / Straits-Born Chinese silver belt, as worn mostly by the nyonyas (Straits-Chinese women) back in the 1800s, early 1900s (and even today, if you can find one that fits!!).

    The panel-style belt like this is certainly Malay / Singaporean style. There are several styles of Peranakan belts.

    Mesh styles are popular in Thailand, there's also woven beadwork styles which are from like, Singapore and such, there's panel styles like this, there's coin-and-chain style, coin-style, layered silver...I think that's all of them.
     
  6. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Mesh belts were also popular in Malaysia and Singapore, but the buckles are different from the Thai buckles.
    And Aceh style, Sumatra style (other than Aceh), Javanese style.;) All of which were also popular in Singapore and Malaysia, especially the Aceh style buckles. Although styles got around, none of these are relevant in this case.:)
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2024 at 7:21 AM
  7. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

    Hoo, I did wonder if it was Peranakan!
     
  8. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    You were right.:)
     
    gauntlettgems likes this.
  9. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

  10. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Must be well-hidden. I've been going to Malaysia & Singapore for decades, and never seen them. The coin ones, chain ones, the layered ones, the panel ones (like in this post), plenty of times, but never the mesh ones. Not in Malaysia, at any rate, but I guess the styles moved around a lot between the various Peranakan communities.
     
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  11. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for the wonderful information. I
    Poked around on my own but ended up more confused about it
     
    stracci and komokwa like this.
  12. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    This particular one is 35” in length. Does that mean it might be newer? Do you think it’s sterling? @Shangas I appreciate the help so much
     
  13. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Peranakan silver was generally very high grade, typically at least 90%. So yes, it could well be sterling.

    35 inches sounds longer than most. It was usually the women who wore the belts (men did too, but this was less-common), and as such, the belts were usually smaller. My great-grandmother's belt is all of 32 inches, and I have another one in my collection which is just 28 inches!!
     
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  14. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    Thank you!!
     
  15. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Yeah, Peranakan women were not heavyweights. My grandmother, rest her soul, was all of about 5'3", and her belt was tiny! Part of the reason (apart from overall smaller frames) was that nyonyas tended to get married VERY very young by modern standards.

    Belts like these were often bridal gifts. They were given to young Peranakan women by their parents or their husbands/fiances on the occasion of an important event - usually - marriage.

    There was no such thing back then as ready-made belts. You want a belt? You had to go to someone like my great-grandfather, who was an established Peranakan jeweler in Malacca - and ask him to make it for you.

    He might have some parts pre-made, like belt-buckles, or clasps or fasteners, but the actual body of the belt would have to be produced entirely from scratch. No two Peranakan belts were ever exactly the same, as a result, and as A.J. said, styles varied by region, from Thailand to Singapore, Malaysia to Sumatra and so-on.

    It wasn't uncommon back then for Peranakan women to marry VERY young - between 15 - 20 was common. As such, the belts were sized for much smaller waists, before things like pregnancy and menopause and old-age indulgences set in, and whatnot.

    Speaking for my own family, my father knew his mother, his grandmother, AND his GREAT-grandmother. Nyonyas married so young back then that multi-generational Peranakan families were extremely common. So the belts being smaller than one might expect, would be quite normal.
     
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  16. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    So interesting. Thank you very much
     
  17. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Yeah I'm not surprised. Finding information about Peranakan culture is damn near impossible. When I started researching my Peranakan ancestors and their way of life, as it was lived way-back-when (my grandmother and her sisters and their little brother were all products of the 1910s and 20s), there were very few reliable resources around.

    It's a bit better nowadays, with more books and websites and stuff, and better museums in the old Straits Settlements, but it's still tricky. I was determined to learn as much as possible, because there was so little information available, and I never knew any of this stuff when my grandmother was still alive. I only found out about all this stuff after she died.
     
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  18. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Most Peranakan can't read or speak Chinese anyway, so I'm in good company!! :p
     
    gauntlettgems likes this.
  19. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Definitely.;) And most of them don't need to anyway.
     
    Shangas likes this.
  20. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    They are in books, but I also come across them regularly on both the Singapore and Malaysia Carousell selling platform.
    Yes, they did, because the people themselves moved around.
    For instance, panel belts, like this one, are based on Javanese wedding belts. They were adopted by the Javanese Peranakan community (for obvious reasons) and travelled to Singapore and Malaysia.
    The Javanese panels are bigger and more intricately worked than this one though. This one is typical of the Singapore and Malaysia style.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2024 at 9:20 AM
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