Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Was lucky enough to find this pretty pair of folk art fruit ensembles in shadow boxes that date back to the pre-War 30s. They used to hang in the home of a dealer-collector, until he probably got tired of them and consigned them at an antique shop. They're not exactly cheap but these fruity displays are very typical Filipiniana pieces that were handcrafted and sold at curio shops in Manila. The fruits are so life-like--they are actually made of wood, pulp and fabric coated with escayola/ gesso then painted realistically and assembled in their narra frames. The first boxed frame features a basket of indigenous fruits like kamatsile, lanzones, balimbing, atis, mabolo, duhat, banana. chico and kasuy, artfully arranged in an embroidered red satin pouch.

The second shadow box combines fruits and vegetable--ampalaya, green and yellow mangos, turnips, squash, guava, sampalok, avocado and a section of a sugar cane. The fruits are wired and stitched on to a fabric backing, which in turn, was nailed onto the wooden stretcher. The molded fruits have some minor scruffs but overall, the unusual displays are in fairly good condition despite their 70 odd years. Who would think that artistic inspirations can also come from our own orchard?

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