Course: Art 7 (MAPEH)
Lesson: Folk Arts of the Philippines
• Define folk arts.
• Describe the different indigenous art of the Philippines.
What is Folk Art
Do you recall something that your great-grandmother taught your grandmother which she taught your mother to teach you? Was there something that has been practiced a long time, that you don’t even know why it is being practiced, except that it has just always been done like that? Those are what we called folk arts. Folk arts are the craftsmanship of people from a local area which depicts the everyday life and are handed down from generation to generation. Folk art is purely aesthetic rather than utilitarian. Folk art is the craftsmanship of people from a local area which depicts the everyday life and is handed down from generation to generation. Folk art reflects traditional art forms of diverse community groups — ethnic, tribal, religious, occupational, geographical, age – or genderbased — who identify with each other and society at large. Folk artists traditionally learn skills and techniques through apprenticeships in informal community settings, though they may also be formally educated.
Indigenous Art of the Philippines
Weaving is popular in the northern part of the Philippines. Materials, ranging from the pinya cloth, a sheer fabric made of fibers of the leaf of the pineapple plant, as woven the province of Aklan, to colorful tapestries and waist cloths of different tribes handloomed from decidedly Western materials of mercerized cotton threads. Banig is a handwoven mat usually used for sleeping. Technically, it is not a textile. Depending on the region of the Philippines, the mat is made of palm (buri), pandan or sea grass leaves. The leaves are dried, usually dyed, then cut into strips and then woven into mats which could be plain or intricate. The Philippines is famous for handloomed fabrics which range from fine and transparent to textured and geometric. The jusi (raw silk in Chinese) is basically a translucent fabric woven from silk yarn and apple thread favored for Barong Tagalog, the national attire for men. The fabric is usually embroidered (burda = embroidery) with intricate designs. The sheer apple fiber cloth, or pinya is the finest of all the handwoven fabrics of the Philippines. Like the jusi, it is also the choice fabric for the Barong Tagalog.
Similarly, it is also embroidered with intricate designs. The fiber is derived from wild pineapple plant of Aklan province where most of the pinya fiber in the Philippines is woven. More recently, mixture of silk and pinya (the so called pinyased’) has appeared in the market. This design is derived from the tubular fabric (malong) that the Yakan women from Basilan wear. The diamond patterning is very distinctive for the Yakan tribe.
The malong or loin cloth of the Mountain Province is an exquisitely hand-loomed piece of long cloth that is wrapped around the man’s middle. Much of the modern bahags have found their way to the low land as table runners, serviettes, and other decor and fashion acoutrements.
Pottery has a long tradition in the country, and is one of the earliest arts practiced by Filipinos. It is a purely functional art, and it is never artistic. Pottery is the ceramic ware made by potters. It can also refer to the material of which the pottery ware is made, which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain.
Woodcarving have a long tradition in our country. Carvings are merely decorative, and have no symbolic meaning. but many carved objects and motifs have symbolic meaning. The bulol, or “Ifugao grain god,” is a carved human figurine into which a certain class of anito is said to incorporate itself when worshipped. Bulols are kept in the house or granary and are usually made in pairs. They are carved of narra wood, which represents wealth, happiness, and well-being. Every step in their production requires a ceremony, from tree selection to arrival at the owner’s house a consecrated bulol has been bathed in pig’s blood, had myths recited to it, and received offerings of wine, ritual boxes, and rice cakes
Okir-a-datu are elaborate curvilinear carved motifs made by the Maranao and Tausug tribes of Luzon. The main okir motifs are the sarimanok (mythical bird), the naga (mythical serpent) and the pako rabong (fern). Such motifs are used to decorate the houses of Sultans. The Hagabi is a wooden seat of the Ifugao representing the social status of a citizen. It shows the wealth and power of its owner is usually a Kadanagyan or a person belonging to a high level in society. This is because only the rich only capable to its operation including the ritual to celebrate the time after its formation.
D. Jewelry or personal Ornaments
Our Philippine ancestors at the time that they were documented by the western world were known to wear elaborate jewelry made of gold. Jewellry is usually considered as an applied and decorative art. It is by no means utilitarian – its materials are often rare and precious, the labor being highly skilled makes them more expressive. T’boli are known for their penchant for personal adornment and colorful crafts. Jewels are discrete art objects on the human body, to beautify the human body some Philippine groups altered the body itself – flatten the forehead, tattooing the skin and filing and gold-pegging the teeth – through surgical operations. Wearing jewelry, however, satisfies the demands of vanity without causing physical pain. Jewelry, like all art, is expressionist pure and simple, the creation of biased, subjective vision. Its impact begins when worn, altering the visual itself, but a jewel changes its function and impact depending on the wearer and the viewer.