Peranakan tiles can be little addictive - and a great excuse for various trips and excursions around the region! Although Bukit Brown Cemetery and certain streets around in Singapore are famous for these decorative elements, there is now a one-stop shop for your Peranakan tile 'fix'! Heritage tile collector Victor Lim recently opened his Peranakan tile gallery at Telok Ayer to showcase his extensive range of antique and replica Majolica tiles.
Located at Thian Hock Keng, one of Singapore's oldest Hokkien temples, the boutique carries antique and replica Majolica tiles popular with affluent Peranakans and others in Singapore during the late 20th and early 21st century. According to Victor, most tiles found locally were imported from Japan with earlier types brought in from countries including England and Belgium.
Victor's passion for these tiles is evident in the beautiful presentation of over 800 restored tiles collected from demolished shophouses in the late 70’s. Victor also conducts tours as a volunteer guide at Bukit Brown Cemetery, where many graves are adorned with rare tiles from this era.
Over the past two years, I’ve discovered similar tiles on graves of my Peranakan relatives at Bukit Brown Cemetery, on a shop-house formerly owned by my Hokkien great-grandfather and at my ancestral clan temple on Cantonment Road. Due to this personal connection, I’m keen to learn more about the history, manufacturing and trade route of these tiles.
I’m particularly keen to learn more about the production of tiles in Japan and explore the link between one of my favourite countries and my ancestors in Singapore! I found the INAX Tile Museum, which is dedicated to the general history of tiles and situated in Tokoname City near Nagoya. Tokoname has a long tradition of ceramics dating back to the 8th century.
In the meantime, I look forward to spending more time at Victor’s new shop where the convenient location, heritage surroundings and cute cafe are sure to make lots of visitors happy. You'll also find my new range of greeting cards available there and on my online shop.
And if you're keen on creating some Peranakan tile inspired art of your own, join my boutique art workshops!