VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Kerosang Serong
GL 0022a-c
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

There are currently very few kerosang serong in existence. Most pieces were initially commissioned by only the wealthiest Peranakan families. With time and the decline of family fortunes amongst some of these families, many such pieces were sold off to private collectors, melted down for cash, or simply recycled into other types of jewellery.

History of the Object
This kerosang serong consists of a relatively large heart-shaped brooch matched by two circular ones. The word ‘serong’ is a Malay word that means ‘oblique’ or ‘tilted to one side’. This probably refers to the kerosang ibu(ibu serong) or heart-shaped mother brooch being tilted to one side. Very few fine specimens of the Peranakan Chinese kerosang serong have survived as many Peranakan Chinese families were forced to sell for cash their precious items, among them the heavily-jeweled kerosang serong, during the Second World War.

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Type
Costume and Jewelry 
Materials
Gold, set with rose-cut diamonds 
Measurements
A set of three gold brooches with diamondsa. D. 5 cmb. D. 5 cmc. L. 13 cm, H. 14cm, W. 9 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Penang, British Straits Settlements 
Geography
Malaysia 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
Late 19th Century 
Function
A Kerosangs is a set of three brooches that is used to fasten the garments of Peranakan Chinese women or Nonyas, as they are known. Peranakan is a Malay term that means ‘born locally’. It is largely used to refer to the descendents of early Chinese merchants and settlers that inter-married with local women from which evolved a unique fusion culture of predominantly Chinese, Malay and European elements. 
Acquisition
This piece was purchased in the 1980s because of its significance as an important piece of Peranakan jewellery, as seen from numerous old photos of Peranakan nonyas from Penang spotting the use of such kerosangs. The piece was purchased from a dealer in Singapore. This piece is currently one of the important pieces of Peranakan jewellery in the collection. 
Copyright
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore 
Acknowledgements
Randall Ee 
Owner
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore 
Museum
Asian Civilisations Museum 
Credit line
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore 

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