NY society to get a glimpse of Philippine pre-colonial gold | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

BANGKO Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., Doris Magsaysay Ho and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, trustees of Asia Society Philippines. ROMY HOMILLADA

When the exhibit of gold artifacts from the Philippines opens at the Asia Society Museum in New York City next month, visitors will be astounded by the quality and intricacy of the pieces. The fact that they date from the 10th to the 13th centuries should be even more cause for amazement.


This is the first time that these pre-colonial gold objects, on loan from the collections of Ayala Museum and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), will be exhibited in the United States.


“Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms” opens Sept. 11 and will run until early January 2016.


“The items displayed at the Asia Society Museum will be the grander, more elaborate ones but in fact, gold was plentiful in the country centuries ago. At Ayala Museum, you can see buttons, bowls and cups made of hammered gold,” Ma. Elizabeth L. Gustilo, Ayala Museum senior director for arts and culture, told Inquirer Lifestyle.


“This meant that our ancestors had access to gold that was fashioned into everyday pieces. How much you had was indicative of your status in society but almost everyone owned at least one gold item,” she added.


Asia Society Philippine chair Doris Magsaysay Ho, Ayala Corporation’s Fernando Zobel de Ayala and BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. attended the briefing at Ayala Museum last Friday.


They spoke about how the breadth of the exhibit would show to the world that Filipinos were artisans who bartered and traded with its Asian neighbors long before the arrival of Western colonizers.


“The exhibit will provide insights into a glorious past and show that our ancestors had the artistry and ingenuity to come up with such objects,” Tetangco said.


The items on loan from Ayala Museum and BSP are only a fraction of the thousands of gold objects discovered in the country in the last 50 years.


The representative collection will include gold necklaces, chains, waistbands, bangles, ritual bowls, belts and ceremonial weapons. The objects attest to a thriving maritime trade in the region with design influences that can be traced to Indian, Indonesian and Chinese art.


On Sept. 10, there will be a gala dinner in New York. Related programs will include academic lectures, a pop-up Philippine food bar, musical events, art and design exhibitions, a film festival and live cultural performances. These activities will be supported by other events organized by Asia Society Philippines in Manila.


Magsaysay Ho described the exhibit as extremely timely as the country hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit this November.


“While the Philippines has a lot of press coming out on economic issues, we thought there could also be a cultural story,” she said.


Zobel de Ayala said that, aside from giving Americans and visitors to New York a chance to know more about the Philippines’ rich culture, “the exhibit will give Filipino-Americans great pride to see these pieces from their country.”


Log on to www.AsiaSociety.org/Philippines2015. To arrange a group tour of this special exhibition in New York, e-mail philippinegold@asiasociety.org.

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