Thursday, December 25, 2014


Now here's a tiny trinket box--with dimensions of just  4 in. x 6 in. x 2.5 in.--made of narra, decorated with a relief carving of a farmer taking rest under a mango tree from his day's toil. Across the dirst road stands his nipa hut, shaded by a coconut tree, and flanked by a haystack. Looming in the horizon is a mountain. Souvenir carvings bearing Filipiniana motifs such as this were much in demand by tourists--and this box was especially made to cater to such market. Handicraft centers in Manila, as well as in Pampanga (for the U.S. market ) thrived till the 70s--offering similar items as monkeypod carvings, wall plaques (featuring farmers, dancers), ethnic busts, carved Filipinana chests (our versions of camphor chests) as well as lazy Susans. Today, a few shops exists, selling cottage industry products along the streets of Ermita, and in Angeles City, Pampanga--but the quality has really matched those made in the 50s, when even small items such as this trinket box, were handcarved with fine details, and finished so handsomely.

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