Saturday, February 9, 2013


 A dealer in Bulacan threw this object for free, after I made several purchase at his shop. It's a wooden, cylindrical item with what seems to be a handle gouged out, at the top. It is dated 1926, as one can see, and the words "Andrea G. Del Pilar, Pilpiltan, Bul.(acan)" are incised along the rim of the circular top.
I was told by the dealer that this came from a bakery, and this was in fact, a masher, used in kneading dough. I was not convinced because rolling pins were known in the Philippines  even in the 20s. Besides, holding this wooden implement was kind of difficult as I could hardly grasp the hollowed-out handle on top.
In another shop, some months later, I found a similar object, with the same hollowed-out oval top to be used in holding the object. This one, though, had no carving. The shop owner, this time, told me that it was a mold for the top part of a buri hat--or maybe that of the famous Baliwag hat, made in these parts of Bulacan in the 30s. I think that was a more plausible explanation, even if I felt that the circumference of the all-wood object  was too small for an adult head (around 7 inches in diameter). Maybe this was for a kiddie size hat, no? If you have any idea what this item is, I would appreciate it you could just post your answers (and guesses) here.

1 comment:

  1. I would surmise that the opinion of the second fellow is correct. I have never seen one before but based on your photograph and description of the item in question it is a custom made engraved hardwood press used for forming bottomed cylinders out of one piece of material, in this case out of water soaked (therefore still pliable) mats of buri and sheets of leather. The excess trimmed and folded into a brim. Try a discarded dough rolling pin sawed in half to tamp down wet newspaper in a larger cylindrical vessel, let set then use the handle ( in this case, the rollingpin to gently turn and pull apart from the form) That the one you found is engraved, and is a tool made by artisans for fellow artisans or pioneers in their respective trades. I have used this technique before using papier mache and even modern carbon fiber with new polymers. This needs a lubricant between the weight and form to prevent sticking. I have an antique buri hat and is exactly 7" in diameter being the common stature (physical dimentions not class!) of archeapelagists at the time, the larger ones were exported to Europe since the 1880s. I'll take a pic. Hope this helps. Indeed a Great find! :)