Stoneware and Porcelain

The Stoneware and Porcelain of the National Archaeological Collection is mainly composed of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and European ceramics that date from the late Tang Dynasty (618–906 CE) to the 18th century. Characterized by various forms such as dishes, ewers, covered boxes, jars, jarlets, and other vessel types, the collection was built up by the National Museum of the Philippines through systematic excavation, donation, purchase, and confiscation, beginning in the 1950s.

The tradeware collection, comprised of whole vessels and fragmented pieces, come from various parts of the country. Notable pieces in the Stoneware and Porcelain Collection include assemblages derived from the earliest systematic excavations of the National Museum of the Philippines in Calatagan, Batangas, and Santa Ana, Manila. A particularly significant piece in the collection is a Changsha stoneware bowl decorated with a grayish green-tinged underglaze, that thus far, is the earliest Chinese trade ceramic recovered from an archaeological site in the country. This late Tang Dynasty piece was found buried in a carved limestone sarcophagus from Mt. Kamhantik in Mulanay, Quezon Province. Other highlights of the collection are 12th to 14th century CE foreign wares systematically retrieved from Porac, Pampanga and 14th to 16th century pieces from Oton in Iloilo and Plaza Independencia in Cebu.

The Stoneware and Porcelain Collection of the National Museum represents a period in Philippine history when international maritime trade relations emerged and intensified and subsequently led to the arrival and introduction of foreign objects from China, Southeast Asia, and Europe into the archipelago. The imported stoneware and porcelain pieces signified social, cultural, and political prestige among Philippine communities during the precolonial and colonial periods.

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