Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had its beginning in 1873, when the Canadian Government organized the North-West Mounted Police to maintain peace and order from the western border of Manitoba to the Rockies and the far north. Through the years, the RCMP, handsome in their red uniforms and hats, patrolled the sweeping wilds of Canada in their horses--and this image of them has become perpetuated in many collectibles that honor their legacy. This ceramic RCMP figurine holder is one such mid-century example. It shows a Mountie astride his horse, with the RCMP initials on the base to signify that this was an authorized edition collectible. I can't recall where I found this, but it still is in goood shape--no cracks or chips--after all these years. Today, the RCMP continue to be a part of the Canadian safekeeping forces, with their own website that sells licensed collectibles.


Now here are two nice finds from a Mabini antique shop: two calligraphic illustrations in their original frames, charming examples of turn-of-the century folk art, each dedicated by the maker to their object of affection. The first one is a birthday greeting for Pering, bearing the inscription:
"Happy Birthday, Pering. 26 July 1916". A heart shaped cut-out in the middle of the rose originally contained the picture of Pering, now lost. The colored paper art included a rustic scene in the foreground.

The second example carries a more profound, if not verbose, sentiments: "Anching, In your moments of meditation, let me be the subject of your inspiration with my most and sincere appreciation. Lucien. 18 Dec. 1934, Tuesday". Perhaps to balance this, the sender illustrated his paper tribute more simply, but using the same device of a flower with a cut-out center where a picture of Anching used to be. Drawn calendar pages are used to put in the sender's greetings.

Handmade paper greetings such as these went out of style with the coming of commercially printed greeting cards. But hopefully, with the renewed interest in scrapbooking, this paper art tradition can be revived and made popular again!

184. Made in Occupied Japan: NUBIAN FIGURINES

After World War II, from 1945 to1952, items imported from Japan to the U.S. had to be marked with "Made in Occupied Japan" or "Occupied Japan", to denote America's conquest of the Oriental power. These 2 decorative figurines, depicting Nubian court musicians, are from that period in our war history, stamped with the Occupied Japan mark. These may have come from a set. Black figurines are very desirable for Occupied Japan collectors as only a few were made. Popular figurines often depicted Asian ethnic stereotypes, European court characters as well as animal figures.


Here are three kitschy lamp finds from the scroungers' capital of the world--Bangkal, Makati. I remember handcarrying the two his 'n hers matching mandarin lamps made of heavy plaster--from Evangelista all the way to my office. I couldn't find a darn cab!! They are, however, well-made and complete--only needing a pair of lampshades. I have since rewired them and they now occupy a special place in my 50s-furnished house. The middle, equally tacky lamp is Art Deco-inspired, showing an Oriental woman and her feline friend--a leopard, I think. My pet cat however, dislodged the lamp from its small table, damaging the escayola nose of the poor feline. Other than that slight defect, the lamp just works fine. Who would have thought that there would be a second life for these cheap, American-made accent lamps--now avidly collected by 'mid-century moderne' collectors--when tacky was the new 50s fad?

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Now here's a nice Morion mask I found in my fave Plaridel antique haunt. Masks like this are used during the annual Moriones Festival in Marinduque, in which people, masked and garbed like Roman soldiers, participate in the unique Lenten rites, culminating in the search for Longinus.

The masks, which are fine examples of folk art, are carved out of Dapdap wood by local sculptors (who also sculpt religious statues) although some are done in papier maché. Painted red or pink, they almost always show a stern expression, with wide, staring eyes, large noses, black beard and open mouth. The turbante, or headgear, mimics that of a Roman centurion's helmet. This particular example is made from wood and raffia brush. When finished, a mask may weigh about 2 kilograms. A new Morion mask is priced at an average Php3,500, but I was lucky to get this for just half the price.


I always wished our class had a school globe, because I thought it's one of those things that made a school---well, a school. But I went to a public school that was always short of funding, so our class never had one. That's why when I found this 10 inch Replogle globe in a thrift shop, I just had to have it--despite the fact that it's missing its original base. The company that made these paper-wrapped globes was started by Luther Replogle in 1930, a school supply salesman who had a special interest in globes. He hand-assembled the globes and sold them from his Chicago apartment. To make one, one has to cut 'map gores' by hand, which were then applied manually to a globe ball, a time-consuming process.

Today, Replogle is the biggest manufacturer of globes in the world. The maps in my vintage globe show all nations, colonies, possessions, boundary lines and place names as approved by the U.S. Government. Of course, the first country checked--the Philippines--still had for its capital, Manila. Its population was still under 500,000 (as indicated by a 'star' legend). What a different perspective of the world this vintage reference globe offers! From longitudes, latitudes, international date lines, prime meridians to zero point and the equator, there's so much to learn, and it's good to wonder!