Babas and Nyonyas are Melaka’s straits-born Chinese or Peranakans (meanging “born here”) whose lineage traces back hundreds of years when their descendents arrived and inter-married with the local women. From these mixed marriages evolved a unique culture which retains Chinese customs and Malay traditions.
The Babas and Nyonyas introduced unique furniture, porcelain and chinaware, dress style and delicious food to be found only in Melaka. The Nyonya women dress in sarrong kebaya with Malay decorative brooches and intricately designed jewelry of silver and gold.
The Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum
Babas and Nyonya are Chinese of noble descendants that have adopted much of the Malay culture into theirs. They are also known as ‘Straits-born Chinese’ or ‘Peranakans’. The public can now view the heirloom unique to this heritage at the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum (a private museum) run by the Babas and Nyonyas of Melaka.
Located at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, or better known as the Millionaire’s Row, this heritage was a residence built during the Dutch occupancy and bought by the Peranakans in Melaka. The design of these houses clearly shows the mixture of culture between the east and the west. Built in 1896, the Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum presents the way of life of the Peranakans in Melaka at the end of the 19th century.
Visitors can see the beauty and uniqueness of the Baba-Nyonya traditional costume, antique furnitures and wood-work art. The western influence can also be seen clearly from the antique furnitures made in Italy, Britain and Dutch. Western influence did not end here as there are many more items in this museum, from Victorian-era chandelier to floor tiles, all has its own story to tell.
The Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum is located at No 48 and 50. The museum assistant will give briefing during your visit and visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the museum.
The Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum
No 48 & 50, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
Tel: +606 283 1273