Monday, August 24, 2009


When visitors from the West came to visit the Philippines, they found the everyday Pinoy so interesting--from his features to his clothing and the props he carried to make a living. So much so that figurines of "Filipino types" -- the neighborhood vendor, the farmer, the milk peddler, the fisherman -- were produced to satisfy Pinoy-struck, souvenir-hunting Western tourists. I. Beck's at Escolta, the leading department store founded by Jewsih businessman Isaac Beck, made sure it carried stocks of these figurines. Here, you have two charming examples from the shop (the bases are marked "I. Beck's") , from the early 1930s. The pair of 8-inch Filipina types (a water bearer, a 'kakanin' vendor) were molded from escayola or plaster of Paris, a more contemporary material--early tipos del pais figures were carved from wood. Great ebay finds, but I had to pay a little more than a hundred dollars for the two figurines that are quite difficult to find in the country (Remember, these were made for the tourist market.) . The ebay seller wanted to throw in a 3rd slightly damaged figurine for 20$ more, but I had to decline.The spirit was willing but my credit card power is weak.

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