Very few native toys were made commercially in the Philippines--and the early ones made meant to prepare little girls for their future roles in their hearth and homes: mini-kitchen wares, mini-flat irons, mini-stoves, mini-wash basins, mini-everything!
This 50s clay basket of fruits was one such plaything made--fashioned from clay, the only viable material that was readily available in provinces. Probably, this was part of a set of collectible clay wares peddled in the local market, or sold in front of churches--where people congregated. Other clay products that catered to kids included piggy banks, which continue to be produced today. But these clay playthings of fruits and basket have all but vanished from the neighborhood tiangges (markets), the same way that kids have disappeared from the streets, to play computer games instead in the privacy of their homes.
Shelf sitters were favorite decorations of 1950s-60s homes, and matching figurines such as these adorned fireplace mantles, book shelves and ledges around the house. They were cheaply mass-produced in ceramic, plaster of paris and hard plastic such as this example, showing two kneeling kids in a prayerful pose.
Popular shelf sitters often show couples kissing--there were kissing angels, kissing Orientals, kissing jesters, kissing Senors and Senoritas. There are even some matching figures you can sit on a ledge with their legs dangling. Kooky, kitschy and great space fillers, these shelf sitters are becoming hot collectibles at prices everyone can afford. Find them in thrift shops, white elephant sales, garage sales or even in auction sites (though you will have to shell out a bit more!). And remember, do always buy them in pairs!!
I didn;t know the small stuff that I pick up from thrift shops--figurines, marbles, pinback buttons, coins, medals, trinkets--could amount to more than a boxful after awhile. So I found a way to display them in small wooden shadow boxes such as these! These shadow boxes show off such miniature collectibles as a trio of antique porcelain Japanese spaniels, figural 1950s celluloid pencil sharpeners, cat figurines, advertising labels, condom and aspirin tins and glass Santa Christmas light ornament.
The second shadow box shows off my '60s Batman button, porcelain swan, a pair of Made-in-Japan Kewpies, my mother's brooch, small brass pot and a china half-doll.
An unusual Rizal bust made of bisque, an unglazed kind of ceramic, turned up recently for sale in San Fernando, and I quickly snapped it up as an addition to my Rizaliana bust collection. The 8 inch bust clearly identifies the national hero by way of his name etched on the front of the bust. Dating from 1930s, Rizal's likeness is pleasantly captured in this representation--although I find him a bit googly-eyed, don't you think? I've seen wooden Rizal busts, busts made of cast cement and plaster--but not made of bisque, which was a favored material of European casters--French and German doll makers even made doll heads of this not-so-smooth, matte ceramic stuff. I just wonder if there's a Rizal bust out there made of China or porcelain?!
Show 'n tell time!
Pop culture curios, kitsch-y stuff and vintage nostalgia, picked from flea markets and someone else's trash bins. Amassed without rhyme and reason by an incurable collector of curiosities.