I enjoy browsing jewelry books of other time periods and cultures for inspiration. Most recently, I checked out The Jewelry of Southeast Asia by Anne Richter from my library.
There’s some great stuff in here, gorgeous gold and silver, strung beads — some imposing and heavy, some light and airy. There are a couple pictures of Perakanan Nonya glass beadwork. This reminded me of one of my blog posts from about a year ago, and upon doing some web surfing to see more examples, I learned about the Borneo International Beads Conference, which I wrote about recently here.
And then I found this book:
I wish I could make that cover larger – it’s the beautiful embroidered beadwork of the Perakanan people. Not easily available in the U.S., the full title is Phoenix Rising: Narratives in Nonya Beadwork from the Straits Settlements by Cheah Hwei-Fe’n, published in March of this year. I read about this book and got the cover art on a blog post on the Perakanan Networks. It describes an event this past April where the author gave a talk, showed examples of beadwork, and an artisan demonstrated how to make the traditional beaded shoes.
The book itself is 400 pages and contains 140 photographs. The author lectures in Asian art and textile history at the Australian National University, and this book builds on her Ph.D. thesis. I looked for it in libraries in the States – is anyone near Cornell University in New York? That is currently the only listed place here where it is available for loan.