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Artifacts of the Philippine Pre-Hispanic Society

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We don’t know what was until we see and understand it. An artifact is an ornament, tool or other object that is made by a human being, especially one that is historically or culturally interesting. Having been able to visit and see the artifacts of our ancestors in the Ayala Museum, I realized that it’s one thing to see a photo of an artifact online and it’s another thing to see it up close in person. The generation of today should be able to see the artifacts for themselves and appreciate their ancestors’ craft, creativity and culture.

The Pre-Hispanic so ciety of the Philippines is creatively well-thought of in terms of textiles and design. I enjoyed viewing the different types of designs that were incorporated in the clothing of our ancestors and I have gotten to learn why these designs were relevant in their culture. I am enlightened to know that our ancestors were conveying their stories about their aspirations for a life of peace, abundance and fertility through their textiles. These textiles are their visual representations of their ideals of worldview, belief systems and beauty and order. The designs of these textiles also showed the role of man as a mediator of heaven and earth.

Our ancestors had their own established system of beliefs regarding religion. Although our ancestors didn’t know what Christianity is back then, they had their own understanding of a form of a higher order. With the ceremonies and rituals that they do, it clarifies that they are religiously inclined. The design of the Manunggal Jar itself has asserted that our ancestors believe in the concept of a soul and an afterlife. They also bury their loved ones with prestigious ornaments and treasures such as gold and pottery so that they can have a successful journey to the afterlife.

Social mobility is also acknowledged of its importance by our ancestors. This is the explanation as to why our ancestors adorn their bodies with gold and paint their bodies with tattoos. Gold measured the wealth and power of the local elites. Tattoos, on the other hand, were the symbol of male valor in the Visayan region. Tattoos helped our ancestors intimidate their enemies in a battle.

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