Tuesday, April 3, 2018


In one of the exclusive villages in Makati is the residence of a private collector--an academician,  translator, author and professor, who has cultivated a taste for fine Philippine antiques. A fellow Kapampangan, I met this getntleman at our cultural study center, which attracts many scholars of history and cultural heritage workers like him. I had the privilege of being invited to his home, where I had a peek at his modest collection of local sacred art. These are mostly santos that run the range from folk to classical, simple to ornate, wood to ivory. Just look at the treasures that his house holds: 

 A small, ivory Nino with a dressed manikin body, and housed in its own urna.This must have been a part of a Holy Family tableau.

 A folksy trio representing the Holy Family. The heads and hands are made from carved bone. The santos have primitive bodies with wire armature arms. In their original embroidered satin dresses.

 A very small polychromed Bohol Virgin with a replaced ivory head and hands, standing on a cloud base carved with cherubs. It is housed in an equally colorful urna.

 This is a large Santo Nino, darkened and reddened with age. Outfitted with glass eyes, it has a clownish expression and the carving style has a distinct folksy feel.

 I helped the collector acquire this beautiful  3-foot image of the Immaculate Conception by introducing him to an office mate whose fiance's family once ran an antique shop in Greenhills that has since closed down. Despite the crack on the body, the carving of this figure, and its original encarna, are superb.

 A wooden, painted icon of the Holy Trinity. It is painted on a thin, wooden board. Bohol provenance.

 This century-old processionl head of a Cristo for an Agony in the Garden tableau is an outstanding piece, finely carved with details like the high cheekbones, exposed teeth, deep nostrils, and the fine strands of hair on his beard,

 Crucified Christ rendered in ivory, hangs on a hardwood cross outfitted with silver accessories: cantoneras (finials), YNRI, rayos, Christ's potencias, and tapiz. Ot is housed in a glass dome (virina).

 A primitive Sacred Heart of Jesus. The moonface-figure has very little details as seen from the simple drapes on his vestment.

 Another wonderful example of a polychromed Virgen from Bohol enshrined in her own nail-less urna or altar, painted with still-vibrant colors.

 A forlorn-looking Christ the King figure seated on his thrown, missing a scepter and a crown.Such figures are enthroned in family homes, often in the living room.

 Sleeping Santo Nino in ivory. prized in many Filipino homes, Heirloom Nino Dormidos are often passed from generation to generation.

 A naif carving of San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers and laborers. This small santo,with its trademark polychrome painting,  comes from Bohol.

A well-carved crucifix, with the corpus of Christ in wood. The dead Christ wears a silver loincloth, and his head sports silver tres potencias and a crown of thorns. The end finials of the cross plus the YNRI, are all made of silver.

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