Research and Evaluation: Collections of National Museum of the Philippines

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Research and Evaluation: Collections of National Museum of the Philippines

Manila – Philippines, March 14 – May 13, 1967, Upon the request of the National Museum of Philippines, Prof. Abu Ridho flied to a former Spanish colony, the Republic of the Philippines, to research Chinese ceramics and other Asian historical works preserved in the National Museum of the Philippines. The purpose of his research and evaluation is in favor of the Philippines government to attest the collections of historical value civilization to become an integral aspect and valuable resource in society. Interestingly, Abu Ridho was also requested to research and evaluate the Asian artworks collection of a first lady of the Philippines, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

Located in the western Pacific Ocean, Southeast Asia, the National Museum of Philippines was founded in 1901 during American occupation in the Philippines and the first Philippine Republic. Now, under Department of Education National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the National Museum of Philippines preserves and exhibits ethnographic, anthropological, archaeological and visual arts collections. The unique and remarkable Chinese ceramics and historical artifacts were comprehensively researched and evaluated by Abu Ridho. Much of them were found in the Philippines regions and others were acquired from donation. The sorts of Chinese ceramics preserved in this museum are not far different from those of other Southeast Asian Countries’ museums, especially in Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.

Asian artworks collection preserved in the National Museum of Philippines can not be separated by its rich long history and culture. Its people had engaged in economic activities such as trade, craftmanship and agriculture before the Spanish colonization (1565 – 1898 AD). Philippine had a closed trade and culture relationship with other China since hundreds of centuries ago. The archaeological sites revealed that trade affairs began in the 7th century of Tang dynasty (618 – 907 AD) and the 10th century, particularly during Song dynasty (960 – 1279) in China dynasty. Abu Ridho researched and evaluated some green and amber-glazed earthenware and early Yue celadon wares of Tang dynasty. This evidence attests that during the trade affairs between China and Philippines flourished in the late Tang dynasty.

The trade and culture relationships between China and Philippines reached its zenith in 14th century, along with the development of other empires in Southeast Asian countries, such as Java, Malay, Srivijaya, and Vietnam. In addition, some unique Qingbai glazed, shufu glaze, celadon stoneware, and blue-white porcelains from Jingdezhen kiln dated to Yuan dynasty exhibited in the Museum were also researched and evaluated. In later periods, a variety of Chinese ceramics produced in other kilns, such as Guandong – Fujian and Jiangxi were exported massively to Philippines for elites’ taste and people daily use. At the end of Ming dynasty to Qing dynasty, the Chinese ceramics trade in the Philippines was controlled and shipped by Spain.

It is not infrequently to find archeological artifacts of Chinese ceramics in the tombs of Chinese people and maritime sites in the Philippine archipelago. Abu Ridho affirmed, “Like in Indonesia archipelago, when people want to find the most significant human activities and culture of the past eras, they may enjoy ancient Chinese ceramics in this museum that shows good cultural values of what is considered good, desirable, and proper.”

EVENT: Research and Evaluation: Collections of National Museum of the Philippines.
DATE: March 14 – May 13, 1967.
PARTICIPANTS: Prof. Abu Ridho, Director of National Museum of the Philippines and its staff.
HOSTED: National Museum of the Philippines.
VENUE: Padre Burgos Ave, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila – Philippines.