New York Times’ Review of Philippine Gold

Gold image of a female with upraised hands. Source: New York Times, 24 September 2015

The New York Times’ review of the Philippine Gold exhibition at the Asia Society.

Gold image of a female with upraised hands. Source: New York Times, 24 September 2015
Gold image of a female with upraised hands. Source: New York Times, 24 September 2015

Review: ‘Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms
New York Times, 24 September 2015

More than half a millennium before Ferdinand Magellan reached the archipelago now called the Philippines in 1521, a number of related societies thrived there. Little is known about them. They left no enduring architecture, monuments or literature. One thing is certain, however: They were astoundingly skillful goldsmiths.

The star of the show and the biggest piece is a gleaming sash that could be mistaken for a futuristic ammunition belt. Made of myriad gold beads, it’s designed to be worn over one shoulder, across the chest and to the hip where one end threads through a loop and concludes with the setting for a now lost finial. Nearly five feet long and square sectioned (about an inch on a side), it weighs about nine pounds.

Another striking piece, called a kamagi, consists of 12 necklaces strung together into a nearly 15-foot-long chain punctuated by small, colored stones. The individual necklaces are composed of smooth, interlocking beads that combine to form flexible, snakelike lengths of gold.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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