Anthropomorphic Pots

Metal Age

Ayub Cave, Saranggani Province



Earthenware pots resembling human figures were found in Ayub Cave, in Pinol, Maitum, Saranggani Province. The jars used for secondary burial were dated to the Metal Age about 5 BC. - 225 A.D. Each of the twenty nine jars recovered from the site is unique. The head-shaped covers portray different kinds of facial expressions: sadness, joy, contentment. The heads were either plain, perforated or coated with red and black paints. Some have earrings, others are tattoed. Some head-shaped covers depict teeth while others have arms, female breasts and male genitalia.

Some of the designs on the pottery were similar to those found in southwestern Mindanao but the detailed facial expression is unique. The making of these earthenware depicting human figures and faces indicates a high level of craftmanship.

The jar burial practices of early Filipinos were prevalent not only in the Philippines, but also in Southeast Asia. These practices date back to the Late Neolithic Period from 1,000 B.C. to the 16th century before the arrival of the Spaniards. The discovery of jar burials uncover significant clues to the prehistory of Maguindanao.


This page was last modified Monday, February 10, 2014
National Museum of the Philippines
Padre Burgos Drive, City of Manila, Philippines