Lot 36 | 27 November 2022



LOT 36


B. Singapore, 1934 -2001

The Old and New Dress of the Malaysian Lady, 1960

Signed and dated Eng Teng 1960 on lower left. Acquired from Sothebys Hong Kong’s Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Auction on 1st April 2019 Lot 346

Oil on canvas

87 x 50.5 cm

Private Collection, Singapore

RM 22,000 – 45,000

Sculpting was not the only thing Ng Eng Teng had an aptitude for. The artist departed from his famed medium to produce brilliant artworks, such as the ‘The Old and New Dress of the Malaysian Lady, 1960’. In this piece, he successfully portrays two Malay women donned in their traditional attire, the baju kebaya. In the background, a Malay lady wears a farmer’s hat on her head and simple, plain-hued baju kebaya while sitting in a demure position. Meanwhile, in the foreground, Ng meticulously paints a lady dressed in a vibrant, intricately designed baju kebaya with accessories and a shawl to match. These women symbolise the transformation of the traditional Malay garment from a simple design to one that is more elaborate, keeping up with the times. The faded, washed- out look to this piece of painting gives it a nostalgic and historical mood. The artist follows suit many pioneer artists such as Chua Thean Teng and Khalil Ibrahim in painting the popular subject of Malay ladies in their Sunday best, during the 1960s.