It has long been recognized that the Peranakan Chinese peoples of Southeast Asia were expert bead embroiderers. As it happens, they were also expert bead netters and plaiters. After establishing a conceptual framework for discussing bead netting and plaiting techniques in general, this article discusses 14 pieces of Peranakan Chinese (or Minangkabau) beadwork and various techniques. The techniques likely derived not just from Europe, as early researchers tended to assume, but from island Southeast Asia and China as well. Knowledge of these and other needleworking techniques helped Peranakan beaders devise radically new permutations, some of them highly complex. Additional factors in the creation of new beading techniques are also considered.
The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.
"Bead Netting and Plaiting Techniques in the Peranakan World."
BEADS: Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers
28: 66-91. Available at: