Ceramics and Cultural Currency: Exchanges of Pottery and Prestige

Curated by Kenneth C. Esguerra, Marinella Andrea C. Mina

Large quantities of Chinese and Southeast Asian trade ceramics found in the Philippine archipelago indicate the active participation of our forefathers in a wide network of inland and inter-island trade and cultural exchange in the region as early as the ninth century. What made these ceramics so valuable that people travelled far and wide to obtain such vessels? This exhibition examines the practical, social, economic, and spiritual values that Filipinos ascribed to these trade wares over a millennium of exchange.

The selection of Chinese and Southeast Asian tradeware ceramics featured in this exhibition are from a long-term loan from the Roberto T. Villanueva Collection, arguably one of the most comprehensive collections of ceramics found in the Philippines.


date_range 3 Aug 2022
access_time 10:00 AM- 5:30 PM
location_on 4F Galleries
info_outline This exhibition is part of the Crossroads of Civilizations feature.

Exhibition Objects

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Casco model

Carlos Quirino et al., 1967-1974

Medium

Mixed media

Dimensions

100 x 39 x 80 cm

Collection

Historical

Description

The casco was a type of barge used mostly to carry cargo along lakes and rivers. They have detachable masts with junk rigs made of woven fiber and have flat bottoms similar to the Chinese and Malay sampan. The deck is mostly covered by a removable curved panel. A raised roofed platform is placed on the stern for the helmsman who steered the boat by oar.

This is a scaled reproduction from the museum’s collection of maritime vessels in Philippine history.

Acknowledgement

Ayala Museum Collection

Location

4F Ceramics Gallery

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Celadon barrel-shaped jar with two lugs

Yue kiln, 10th century

Origin

Zhejiang

Medium

Stoneware

Collection

Archaeological Materials

Description

This is a classic example of Yue ware – a thin layer of green glaze over a finely potted, greyish stoneware body, and minimum surface ornamentation. The glaze of Yue ware ranges from a yellowish to greyish-green color. Considered the ancestor of Chinese celadons, Yue ware had great influence on the decorative styles of ceramics from other kilns in both north and south China. The small lugs on the shoulder of this vessel would have been used to fasten a lid.

Acknowledgement

Roberto T. Villanueva Foundation Collection | On long-term loan to Ayala Museum

Location

Museum Storage

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Globular jarlets in brown, amber and green lead glazes with dragons in relief

Cizao kiln, Ca. 13th - 14th century

Origin

Fujian

Medium

Stoneware

Collection

Archaeological Materials

Description

This globular jarlet from the Cizao kiln is covered in a signature lead and green glaze, and prominently features an auspicious amber dragon.

Fujian trade ceramics came to prominence in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279) when the court moved to nearby Zhejiang province. The Quanzhou port in Fujian became China’s busiest trade hub for two centuries and has exported tradewares from Fujian kilns regularly to pre-Hispanic Philippines.

Acknowledgement

Roberto T. Villanueva Foundation Collection | On long-term loan to Ayala Museum

Location

Museum Storage

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Blue-and-white twin duck water dropper

Ca. late 15th - early 16th century

Origin

Jingdezhen, Jiangxi

Medium

Porcelain

Collection

Archaeological Materials

Description


This blue-and-white twin duck figurine was made as a water dropper for a scholar’s calligraphy inkstone. Through trade however, similar examples have been found in several sites in the Philippines – possibly because avian forms were associated with high status and the heavens in pre-colonial local cosmology.

Acknowledgement

Roberto T. Villanueva Foundation Collection | On long-term loan to Ayala Museum

Location

Museum Storage

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Brown jar with molded floral design

Late 15th century

Origin

Central Vietnam

Medium

Stoneware

Collection

Archaeological Materials

Description

This jar shows typical floral decorations from central Vietnam, made by pressing large pattern molds onto the soft clay. Jars with similar designs were recovered from the Pandanan, a 15th- century shipwreck off the coast of Palawan.

15th-century Vietnamese ceramics reflect the country’s great historical and cultural divide. Dai Viet in the north showed strong Chinese influence owing to long subjugation by its northern neighbors, while the kingdom of Vijaya in Central Vietnam had strong Indic influence from Angkor in Cambodia.

Acknowledgement

Roberto T. Villanueva Foundation Collection | On long-term loan to Ayala Museum

Location

Museum Storage

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Iron-spotted boat with rider figurine

14th century

Origin

Possibly Cizao, Fujian

Medium

Stoneware

Collection

Archaeological Materials

Description

This boat-shaped figurine with iron-spotted decorations shows the affinity of our ancestors with sea travel. It was found on an island two hours away from the nearest island of Mindoro by boat. Ceramic figurines found in grave sites throughout China and Southeast Asia present clues to the lifestyle and values of our ancestors.

Acknowledgement

Roberto T. Villanueva Foundation Collection | On long-term loan to Ayala Museum

Location

Museum Storage

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