Saturday, May 05, 2018

Buying Manek Potong Shoes

Every time we visit Malacca, we end up visiting this little Kasut Manek (Nonya beaded shoes) shop down Temple Street called Lim's Trading.
Down Temple Street
But it was always an exercise in window shopping.  For myself, I was determined not to buy another pair until I had finished making my own.  And that took years!  As for my dear friend, she makes her own shoes most of the time!

But this year I was determined that I would buy a pair of "Manek Potong" shoes.  For the uninitiated, "Manek Potong" represents the utmost pinnacle of beaded shoe craftsmanship.  The beads are smaller than the standard machine made beads, and even the better quality Japanese Beads.  Apparently they are made somewhere in the former Czechoslovakia, cut by hand such that the facets of the beads are less regular and reflect the light differently as a result.  Because the beads are smaller, the patterns on the shoes are more intricate as a result.  The beads are also difficult to get, because the Czech factory which made them has discontinued the line... ... at least that's what we are told but somehow there are rumours that there is a new source ...

Anyway, Mr Lim is well known in Malacca/Malaysia for his beaded shoes, as this New Straits Times article can testify.  (The article also gives a little more background on beaded shoes, which I'm not going into here as I've done so on a number of times on this blog already).  In 2012, he received the Unesco Seals of Excellence for Handicrafts in recognition of his work.  What is so unique is that rather than just use the "traditional" patterns, he designs his own beautiful designs, of goldfish swimming with water and seaweed rippling around them, of birds and flowers amidst the foliage.  You can choose yourself a pattern, and he will sew it up for you, get the cobbler to make up the shoe and post it to you.  I have to say that I was tempted to do that but fortunately I found the perfect shoe in terms of fit, design and style so I bought it on the spot (for a pretty penny, I should add). Here it is:

Birds and flowers - my Manek Potong shoes

In my humble opinion, they go nicely with my new turquoise kebaya and orange sarong :-)

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