The Peranakans - Ancestral Hall

 

Introduction
Introduction

Ancestral Hall
Ancestral Hall
Ancestral Worship
Death & Funeral
Famous Peranakans

 Bridal Chamber
Bridal Chamber

 Living Room
Living Room

 Kitchen
Kitchen

 Bedroom
Bedroom

 Library
Library

 Bibliography
Bibliography

 Credits
Credits

Back to Index
Project Narrative

 

                 Altar

- The Altar -

A sacred place of the house...

A place of solemn reverence...

where family members worship, to remember their ancestors...

 

       The Peranakans, like the Chinese, were keen practioners of the observance of ancestral rites. The highest and most visible expression of this devotion was the allocating of one room in the house as the Ancestral Hall.

     The focal point of the Ancestral Hall is an altar consisting of two tables. The higher and larger table is used for the ancestral shrine and the lower square table is for food offerings. The main feature of the high altar table is the ornately carved, glided ancestral shrine used to house the ancestral tablets of the family. A porcelain joss-stick holder, flower vase and a pair of glass oil lamps can also be found here. Above the altar would be an ancestral portrait, usually of the male founder of the family line. A wooden plaque engraved with Chinese characters with a filial phrase would hang above. Below it, flanking the altar, would be a pair of wooden panels inscribed with couplets or a pair of framed embroidery silk pictures. To complete the picture, framed paintings and a pair of ornate carved teak mirrors would decorate the side walls of the hall.

      The Ancestral Hall was  arranged in a formal manner in keeping with the solemnity of the hall’s function and would be furnished with English or European style teak, a carved settee and Chinese hardwood chairs.