12 / 1999

Malaysia * Men's shoe with contrast appliqué designs

Men with some position in the Chinese-Malay society of which mixed descendants were called "Nonyas" and "Babas", and officials in the straits settlements, wore boots as a demonstration of wealth and superiority. Shoes like the one above were used by the gentry for informal wear within the private quarters of the house and for common use by the lower ranks. A proverb of the day stated: "A man in boots will not speak to a man in shoes". The sole is several centimeters thick and is made of layers of felted paper with a final layer of leather and whitened around the edges. The satin vamp was therefore raised to keep it drier in wet weather. The infelible sole, was made shorter than the uppers in order to give sufficient spring for walking. In summer a backless mule, in the same shape as the shoe above was worn or slippers made of woven straw or can with silk or cotton linings and sometimes leather soles.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland