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published lists of ethnic subdivision in the entire Philippines. Much of
what we know as the Ilocanos, the Tinguians, the Manobo, Samal to name
a few, and their corresponding territorial region came, I think, from a
population survey outlined by Beyer in the early years of American rule.
The book is also insightful in charting the role of politics and the
historical processes that underwent with it in creating and shaping ethnic
identities particularly supra-villages or regional identities. In the case of
the Cordillera, Finin successfully demonstrated how American colonial
policies influenced all subsequent imaginings of the Igorot both at the
regional and state levels, beginning in the indigenisation of public offices
which basically entails the placing of native Igorot on key administrative
positions and all the sentiments that went with it, and the impact of
nationalist movement which have reached the Cordillera due mainly to
Igorots who studied in Manila during the turbulent Marcos years.
This book is an important addition to the already growing
literature on Cordillera history. One can surely consider that this work is
a modern classic in Igorot/Cordillera studies along with William Henry
Scott’s The Discovery of the Igorot and Felix Keesing’s The Ethnohistory of
Northern Luzon. Students working on Cordillera history and culture as
well for those who study American colonial legacies in the Philippines
will find this book informative as it is interesting to an Igorot friend I
happened to share in reading it.
Zhangzhou Ware Found in the Philippines: “Swatow” Export Ceramics
from Fujian 16th to 17th Century
Edited by Rita C. Tan
(with contributions from Li Jian An, Dr. Eusebio Dizon and Bobby Orillaneda)
2007. Malaysia: ArtPostAsia Pte. Ltd.
Review by Donna Arriola
Graduate student, Archaeological Studies Program, University of the Philippines
Countless coffee table books have been published on trade
ceramics – catalogues of exhibitions from private collections and
shipwreck finds. Zhangzhou Ware Found in the Philippines (“Swatow” Export
Ceramics from Fujian 16th to 17th Century) may at first glance look as if
following roughly the same format. But what is exceptional about this
book is that it offers something that has never been done before which is
72 Valientes
to present Zhangzhou ware found in the Philippines. It is a very wellwritten and exquisitely presented book that features the fifth exhibition of
the Oriental Ceramics Society of the Philippines, an organisation that aims
to document and celebrate oriental ceramics in the country. It is at the
Yuchengco Museum, dedicated to Chinese-Filipino heritage, located in
RCBC Plaza, Makati. It ran from October 11, 2007 to January 8, 2008 but
was extended until February. The exhibition featured 125 Zhangzhou
wares that demonstrated the variety of ceramics that were exported to the
Philippines during the late Ming. Also in the exhibit were artefacts and
images from the San Isidro and San Diego shipwrecks.
The author of the book is no stranger to the circle of ceramic
enthusiasts and the archaeological community who are frequent
audiences in her lectures and readers of her work. Rita C. Tan specialises
in 10th to 17th century Chinese trade ceramics and has already published
a coffee table book entitled Chinese and Vietnamese blue and white wares
found in the Philippines in 1997 along with Larry Gotauco and Allison
Diem. She is presently the curator of the Ceramic Gallery of Kaisa
Heritage Centre and the Villanueva collection of Chinese and Southeast
Asian trade wares at the Ayala Museum.
As can be noticed in the title of the book, Rita Tan has shown a
preference for the name ‚Zhangzhou‛ instead of the more commonly
known ‚Swatow‛ and explains in the introduction why proper
nomenclature is called for. Before a breakthrough in research brought
about by excavations in mid-1990s, it was thought that the said wares
were shipped out of the Zhantou (Swatow) port. It was later revealed that
the wares were shipped instead from Zhangzhou, which became a
thriving ceramic manufacturing centre as the consequence of the opening
of the Yue Gang port. Today, more scholars are using the term
Zhangzhou rather than Swatow.
The first chapter in the book explains the significance of
Zhangzhou ware in Chinese international trade, its ‘rustic charm’
prevailing despite its inferiority to the quality of Jingdezhen wares. It
speaks about the importance of Zhangzhou kiln technology and Chinese
overseas trade specifically in the 16th and 17th centuries.
So what exactly is Zhangzhou ware? In comparison to Jingdezhen
wares the clay has more impurities, prepared in a shorter time, the foot
ring has adhesions of sand, and has a thicker foot rim. Also, Zhangzhou
ceramics had copied many of the styles of Jingdezhen wares. Zhangzhou
wares come in blue and white, polychrome and monochrome.
In the next chapter, Li Jian An presents a review of the recent
archaeological and research trends in the People’s Republic of China. It
features different archaeological kiln sites in Zhangzhou. The bulk of the
book is the catalogue. It describes the specimen’s shape and design, the
diameter, the source and which collection it is kept. This may be found
useful by archaeologists who want to try to identify ceramics. It is also
appealing for non-archaeologists, those who just want to admire pottery.
The last chapter is a short update on two shipwrecks, namely, the
San Diego and San Isidro Wrecks which is also a reflection on Philippine
ceramic trade on Swatow wares in the 16th century.
The book reminds so much about Adhyatman’s book on
Zhangzhou wares in Indonesia. Perhaps this book by Tan could have
benefited more by indicating some ethnographic uses of Swatow wares as
well as something on Zhangzhou wares found in land archaeology even if
most of the samples that may be acquired from land sites may be of a
more fragmentary nature. Maybe this inclusion would be more
representative of this kind of wares found in the Philippines.
This work by Rita Tan succeeds as a book for amateur ceramic
enthusiasts and as a resource book to scholars, especially those who are
dealing with material culture. Although some might find it wanting in the
area of how ceramics had functioned in society symbolically and
religiously, Tan’s interest in ceramics is concentrated into placing it at the
right time period and place such as kiln and market, rather than its
cultural aspect. The historical and archaeological information can
enlighten and surprise even long time ceramic aficionados. Also, the
catalogue can serve as a reference to identify and date Zhangzhou wares.
It is a must read, and all institutions who are in the arts and social
sciences should have it in their library, if not each of the students and
faculty themselves.
74 Arriola

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