MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Kite, Beauty and Peoples Museum in Malacca

On Jalan Kota, around the corner from the main square in Malacca, we passed a terracotta-coloured building which was emblazoned with titles on each floor, such as the "Museum of Enduring Beauty". We thought we'd drop in quickly for a look as it turned out the the block housed three museums - one on each floor - on the subjects of Kites, Beauty, and the People of Malaysia.

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There was an entrance fee but it wasn't very much, and we made straight for the second floor to see the kites. This rickshaw above was meant to be one that was used to break a Malaysian record for distance traveled.

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There were examples of kites from around East-Asia and the rest of the world, such as these ones from Japan, and the exhibits displayed different kinds of shapes and sizes. The museum also displayed how kites were made in various countries, the different materials they were made with, and the role kites play in the cultural life of the people of those countries.

But overall, the presentation looked a little tired and in need of a lick of paint.

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I found out that the museum explicates how, since its invention, the kite has served Man as a means of long distance communication, a weapon of war, a sport and as a leisure activity. Intriguing, but whilst there, I did find it hard to be drawn into the exhibits.

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Very soon, we popped up to the third floor to see the Beauty Museum which I thought might be interesting for Linh.

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However, it turned out to be packed with photos and objects exploring different concepts of beauty such as skin tattooing, stretching lips by the insertion of round discs, moulding heads into oval shapes and restricting the growth of feet. It wasn't exactly what we were expecting, but that made it all the more interesting.

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The objective of the Beauty Museum was to create awareness of the different viewpoints held by different cultures and different periods of time on what constitutes 'beauty'. Many of the displays seemed to portray Asian cultures and it was certainly interesting to read more about the background and the practicalities of some acts of beauty such as teeth-filling. It sounded very painful! But all in the name of beauty I guess.

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Tiny feet binding shoes were on display and in fact, there were a few shops around Malacca which still seemed to make these, or make shoes of similar quality but at full size.

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Our last stop in the block was back down to the ground floor and to the People's Museum. The museum explained various facets of Malacca - the administrative structure, the social infrastructure, tourism, the manufacturing and industrial sector for example - and how they evolved and developed through time.

I found these round objects interesting, although they did appear to be much classier versions of spinning tops that we had as kids.

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This entry posted in : Culture. History. Malaysia. Tourism.

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