Monday, May 25, 2015

333. Rising in Value: PHOENIX PLATE

One of my first oriental antiques is this so-called 6.5" diameter Phoenix Plate which I bought in the 80s at the famous Aldevinco Shopping Center in Davao--known for its excavated and salvaged antiques. It shows the legendary bird, hand-drawn in the middle of the plate, flying off in resurrection. Alongside dragons and roosters, the phoenix is a popular theme in Oriental art.
In mytholology, it is a long-lived bird that cyclically reborn--thus the phoenix is associated with the Resurrection of Christ. In Art, it is depicted as a very colorful bird, the size of an eagle with a nimbus to symbolize its association with the Sun.
This particular Phoenix Plate is made of glazed clay; I have no idea as to its age, but it does look and feel very old. I've had this sitting on a shelf for s long, surviving typhoons and earthquakes from the last three decades. I am not worried it might break because for sure--like the mythical phoenix--it will become whole and rise again!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

332. Advertiques: PHILLIPS PETROLEUM 66

Loyalty has its privileges, indeed. I bought a few items from an antique dealer recently and he gave me this freebie--a  rather large wooden sign of Phillips Petroleum 66. The energy company was founded  by Lee Eldas "L.E." Phillips and Frank Phillips of Oklahoma in 1917.
A shield logo was created in 1930 for its link to the famous highway of the same number, with a black and orange color scheme that would last nearly 30 years. In 1959, Phillips introduced a revised version of the shield in red, white and black, a color scheme still used by Phillips 66 Co. for the brand. Vintage Phillips signs are highly collectible and many reproductions exist. This wooden sign is definitely a local fantasy version, with cut-out letters and carved background (there's a missing piece below). It must have hanged in a private bar or used to decorate a den or a man-cave. I haven't gotten around to restoring it--it is just stashed away in my garage-- to remind me that once upon a time, petrol was so cheap, that everyone on Route 66 was screaming--"Step on the gas!".

Saturday, May 9, 2015


 Before you start picking for antiques, why not try looking around your own house first? This is just what I did when I started getting hooked on old things. Ever since I can remember, we've always had this stone grinder at home, which was actually used for years in the making of bibingka, tamales and other sweet kakanins (homemade delicacies).
One used a spoon to "feed" the stone grinder with gelatinous rice and water, through a small opening on the top stone wheel. The brass handle is then turned by hand, and the ground rice then comes out of the spout, with a sticky consistency now called "galapung"--the main ingredient in many Filipino sweet treats. This domestic antique bears the name of the original owner, who happens to be the elder brother of my grandpa--Dr. Melecio R. Castro,
The date is carved out on the top stonewheel--Enero 15, 1913--which makes this gilingan a certified antique--over 100 years old! I am glad I saved our stne grinder, which went out of commission many years ago, with the advent of instant "galapung" flour. It still is in great condition, with its original brass turner, that is connected to the stone with a tongue or hardwood, It rests now in my garage, treated like a sculptural piece, the way gilingans are being collected these days as garden ornaments. Hopefully, I will find the opportunity to use this again, to make my favorite tamales. Giling-giling, pag may time!