It has been a while since I posted the first part of my post about our visit to our National Museum with my friend. As I mentioned on the first post, I have hundreds of photos from that one-day visit. Let me share a few more of those photos now.

One of the arts that captured my attention the most is the former Senate hall. The hall soars three stories to the top of the building like a cathedral. The first floor is totally empty where visitors roam around. The second floor is like a mezzanine to the first while the third floor is space. It was first used as the Senate hall in 1949 until 1996 when the Senate transferred to another building in Pasay City. In 1998, the session hall and the entire building was turned over to National Museum. The hall has been restored and retouched as to how it is today.

Except for the front wall which has the entrance, all three other walls of the first floor are full of crisp beautiful paintings.


The paintings depict a lot about Filipinos from history - their battle against foreign invaders and the hardships of life in those days.



Here is the view from the second floor.


I was amazed by the paintings. I have actually been wishing that at least one panel of our walls at home will have wall-size painting. I wonder what the painting be and when it will happen... After sating my eyes with the paintings, we moved on to another hall.

The next painting depicts the conflict of tri-people in Mindanao, the southern island of our country. Tri-people refers to the Moro (Muslims), the Lumad (indigenous people) and Christians. History has it that the Moros were intact and has relative control over the island long time ago. The Lumads were also intact and in control of the forest and mountains. Then Spaniards came and convert people (mostly from the northern part) into Christianism. Again, history has it that the coming of Christian settlers has further class divisions that we see until now in that part of the country.


This is another amazing work of art. The caption says it is oil on canvass but the canvass looked like a woven cloth to me. You will notice the tassels on the sides and at the bottom. If this was painted on a woven cloth then the artist must be very good and very patient. I can only imagine the challenges with all the small details.

Moving on to another hall, we have 3D artifacts this time.

Beside this glass cube is a TV showing indigenous people using this craft. It never occurred to me what it was until I checked the caption. Guess what it is! Bamboo tobacco container! Yes, that is what this is. At first I thought it is a coin bank, like that bamboo that my elder brother used to make me a coin bank from. The paintings are of synthetic dyes. The set was said to be gift of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to a Director Barns who I supposed to be Jeremy Barns according to the NCCA website. It was in turn turned over to Ehtnology Division.


If you can't read the caption on the following photo, maybe you can guess what are in there. What they are also did not occur to me until I checked the caption. These are tops. Spinning tops, that is. These are made of wood and metal that are painted. The boys my age played spinning tops during my childhood but not something like this. I know the version of spinning tops that have straps and were way smaller than these. As I quote from the caption "The form of these tops is similar to the gasing of Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam... These were bought by the donor from a Manila antique dealer..." I wonder how I can spin these with the big sizes.


Now here are native crafts which the one on the right looks familiar to me. That means these are from the northern part of the country because I am from there.
Let's start from the left-most item. It is a basket called ulbong and is made of rattan and bamboo by the Ifugao's (a province and also tribe name in northern Luzon).

The one in the middle is a backpack called bango by the Ifugao's too. It does not look like a backpack upfront. I haven't figured that until I checked the caption. The caption has a photo of the back of the backpack so I was able to imagine the straps. It is made of rattan, bamboo and pine needles. The pine needles are included to protect the backpack and repel water.

The third one is a basket called kayabang by the Ibaloi's or natives of Benguet province. This is used for collecting farm produces. It is carried on the head through a strap and protected at the back.


As usual, colors catch my eyes so I did not let this just pass by. It is a mat called tepo from Southern Palawan. It is made of pandan and synthetic dyes. These are traditionally used as sleeping mats and are also used as prayinh mats. Tradition has it that weaving mats like this is exclusively done by women. I guess because of our diligence to details and beauty. πŸ˜ƒ


Now on to another hall where more 3Ds crafts are. There are a lot in the hall. Let me show you at least three of them.

The title caption of this one says "Eshu" and no description so I had to research. Let me just quote Wikipedia:

Eshu (Yoruba: Èṣù, also known as Echú, Exu or Exú) is an Orisha in the Yoruba religion of the Yoruba people (originating from Yorubaland, an area in and around present-day Nigeria). As the religion has spread around the world, the name of this Orisha has varied in different locations, but the beliefs remain similar.[1]

It is made of gold-cast marble and volcanic cinder. The artist was Agnes Arellano way back in 1997. The Wikipedia descrition mentioned Nigeria so I wonder what inspired the artist to create this craft and worthy for a space in a National Museum. Maybe that's an assignment for me.


This next carving is the "Doxology" by Julie Lluch. It is made of terracotta and acrylic. Wait, that's terracotta? It looked like a wood carving. For a moment I stared at it. The woman's lamentation seem real, I thought I felt the pain. It is not just a doxology but an outcry to high heavens. Goosebumps! I moved on...


Finally, here is a real wood carving from molave tree by Rey Paz Contreras. The title says Paglalakbay which means journey. I lost my artistic perspective. How does this depicts life's journey? Please help elaborate back to me... πŸ˜ƒ


That's about it for now for the second installment of our museum visit. Let's see if I can make a third one... 😊

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