Strolling the lanes of Malacca, it's impossible to miss the gorgeous patterns of the Majolica tiles. Often referred to as Peranakan, Nyonya, or Sino-Portuguese tiles, they're more than mere decorative pieces – they narrate tales of intertwined cultures and artistry that dates back centuries.

The genesis of this story is rooted in the Chinese influx into Malacca, Malaysia’s vibrant port city. As trade winds drew different cultures into a close embrace, a harmonious blend of Chinese, Malay and Western traditions took shape, giving rise to the Peranakan culture.

Peranakan tiles boast vibrant palettes, often painted in blues, greens, yellows and pinks, capturing motifs that reflect both the East and the West. These designs range from floral patterns, reminiscent of Chinese porcelain, to geometric nouveau and art deco configurations, influenced by European art. The glossy finish, a characteristic trait of these tiles, is a result of the tin-glazing process they undergo, making each tile not only beautiful but durable too.

Malacca’s cafe culture is equally fascinating. The old town around Jonker Street and along the canal is an artist and foodie haven. As I tread on these tiled pathways and sit in tiled rooms, I’m reminded that I’m walking on chronicles of history. An art form that is a testament to the beauty that emerges when worlds come together.


There is a wealth of stories and inspirations that Malacca offers, from its art, museums, lush landscapes to its culinary delights; all under the banner of a UNESCO heritage site. I will dive deeper into these tales over the coming weeks. But for now, let’s tap dance through these pretty pictures and enjoy a bit of tile appreciation.

October 21, 2023

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