Subject:Re: 19th century vase - Is this Nonya ware?
Posted By: Bill H Fri, Nov 24, 2017
Michael, your comment and photos are welcome, though all I'd hoped would come from my input here was how the essential Nonya "phoenix & peony" pattern is rooted in feminine iconography.
Your response seems to imply my attempt to support that goal with a compressed recollection of factual citations by Author Ho Wing Meng in his book may have missed the intended target. At the very least, I should clarify that nothing I said was my personal theory. Instead, maybe we have a philosophical difference over what participants in the forum should seek to accomplish. In my case, I believe it isn't going to do the poster of a query any good if we answer it with a volume of prepackaged research. Instead, I think a minimal amount of information, a road map if you will, sometimes is better to help the poster learn how to conduct their own research and have it stick with them.
Nevertheless, your response intrigued me enough to look at my source again. But I still find Ho Wing Meng apparently citing local ancestral records of "Baba" families with Fujian roots who have been living in the Malacca area since the beginning of the Ming dynasty. He also mentions Portuguese records that are a basis for sourcing the origins of Baba-Nonya Culture to Chinese unions with indigenous women in Malacca, of which area the well-known Straits of Malacca, which have been where they are since before humans walked the earth, are eponymous now with "Straits Chinese".
Thnk you for the suggestion, but I have, in fact, made several visits to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia during an almost two decades stay in Asia, one journey by train from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, then by hire car to Malacca, and finally by local jitney bus to Singapore, with side visits to local points of interest en route; Batu caves anyone? The hire car to Malacca was shared with a young lady of Chinese-Malay ancestry who worked at what I recall to be the Hotel Metro in KL, in which establishment her parents in Malacca had a financial stake. She offered a firsthand account of the area's culture and history during the drive and provided suggestions of local historical sites to visit, principally at the time including the ruins of the ancient Portuguese St. Paul's church. So you might say, I have a certain amount of "been there, done that" under my belt.
As such, I'm inclined to leave my oversimplified point as is and let anyone else with questions just read the book, and may the edification fall wherever it might find an absorbent landing spot.