ZHANGZHOU WARE FOUND IN THE PHILIPPINES: “SWATOW” EXPORT CERAMICS FROM FUJIAN 16th-17th CENTURY – Rita C Tan – © ArtPostAsia Private Limited, Rita C Tan with partners Yuchengco Museum and the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines, 2007Zhangzhou ware was produced during the 16th-17th century in Fujian, China. They were meant to meet the trading demands of the neighboring countries in Asia.

This catalogue substantiates historical accounts of the Philippines being one of the thriving markets of China’s ceramic trade in the late Ming period. The collection in this catalogue clearly shows to the world the range and variety of Zhangzhou ware shipped to the Philippines during the 16
th-17th century of the Ming dynasty. Today Zhangzhou ware continues to attract collectors because of its rustic charm.

In addition to working on the production of this catalogue, Rita C Tan was the curator to the accompanying exhibit. Other contributors were Li Jian An, dr. Eusebio Z Dizon and Bobby C Orillaneda.

PANG-ALAY: RITUAL POTTERY IN ANCIENT PHILIPPINES - Valdes, Cynthia O. (editor) - © Ayala Foundation in cooperation with the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines, 2003

While the precise origins of pottery making in the Philippines remains unclear, some scholars believe that local manufacture of pottery may have been introduced from Vietnam as early as the 5th millennium B.C. Earthenware potteries took on varied, significant and indispensable roles in early Southeast Asian daily life and death.

Archaeological sites in the Philippines exhibiting the presence of early pottery dating over 2000 years B.P. have been documented. These habitation and burial sites are spatially well distributed all over the archipelago from Northern Luzon to southern Mindanao.

The exhibition at the Ayala Museum, organized by Cynthia Ongpin Valdes and this accompanying book gathered for the first time notable objects from several private collections, demonstrating the wealth of forms and techniques used in manufacturing these ritual vessels. In addition to the exhibition pieces illustrated in this catalogue, also featured are contributions by members of the OCSP, scholars and ceramicists (Cynthia O Valdez, Wilfredo P Ronquillo, Eusebio Z Dizon, Angel P Bautista, Amelia A de la Torre, Nida t Cuevas, Grace Barretto, Esperanza Bunag Gatbonton, Edwin R Bautista, Jose Marie Perez Treñas).

CHINESE AND VIETNAMESE BLUE AND WHITE WARES FOUND IN THE PHILIPPINES - Larry Gotuaco, Rita C Tan, Allison I Diem - © Larry Gotuaco, Rita C Tan, Allison I Diem and Bookmark Incorporated, 1997


The Idea of an exhibition on Blue and White Wares Found in the Philippines was conceived in early 1993. The White Ware Exhibition of the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines was still ongoing at the time, and the Society’s directors were so enthusiastic and inspired that the Board immediately approved the idea for the next exhibition.

The Society wished to present a more complex picture of the variety and quality of Chinese and Vietnamese blue and white wares traded to the Philippines. The Chinese ceramics were made within the last 40 years of the Yuan dynasty of the 14th century and in the succeeding 275 years of the Ming dynasty. The Vietnamese wares were contemporaneous from the late 14th – 16th centuries.

The exhibition and book launching in March 1997 are the culmination of the search and research conducted by the team of Rita C Tan, Allison I Diem and Larry Gotuaco. Additionally, the Society invited Tan Ba Hoanh, the Director of the Hai Hung Provincial Museum, to contribute a paper on recent research into kiln sites in Vietnam, some of which were the source of wares traded to the Philippines.

The team members focused on some less-known aspects of Yuan, Ming and Vietnamese blue and white ceramics excavated in the Philippines, thereby contributing to the ever-growing body of knowledge about blue and white wares.

CHINESE AND SOUTH-EAST ASIAN WHITE WARE FOUND IN THE PHILIPPINES - © Oxford University Press Private Limited, Singapore, 1993For over a century ceramics have been found and collected from various sites in the Philippines. The presence and distribution of these wares throughout the archipelago testify to the country's strategic location on the ancient maritime trade route and to its interaction with its Southern Chinese as well as South-East Asian neighbors. Of particular interest has been the excavation of grave goods, remnants of the burial culture of the Filipinos before the arrival of the European colonizers. Among these are the much-prized white ware and qingbai ware from Jiangxi, Fujian, and Guangdong provinces in China, as well as white ware of Thai and Vietnamese provenance.

This book is published in connection with an exhibition presented by the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines in Manila in March 1993. The bulk of the exhibition comprised the delicate blue-tinged white qingbai porcelain from Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, produced in large numbers during the Southern Song period (AD 1127-1279). The exceptionally fine craftsmanship and variety of shapes are amply illustrated in this book. Five previously unpublished papers by Rita C. Tan, Li Zhi-yan, Rosemary E. Scott, Allison I. Diem, and Roxanna M. Brown relating to the characteristics of white ware and to its excavation in the Philippines supplement the catalogue of illustrations.

A THOUSAND YEARS OF STONEWARE JARS IN THE PHILIPPINES - Valdes, Cynthia O; Long, Kerry Nguyen; Barbosa, Artemio C - © Jar Collectors (Philippines) with the support of Eugenio Lopez Foundation Incorporated and in cooperation with the National Museum and the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines, 1992Originally fashioned as utilitarian vessels, storage jars, (commonly known as gusi or tapayan by native peoples of the Philippines), were containers for water, wine, pickled foodstuff and other provisions for the ship’s crew during the long sea voyages from China to various ports beyond. They eventually became trade items in themselves. Storage jars, known as martaban by the connoisseurs, first came to the Philippines with ceramic wars of the late Tang Dynasty (618-907). 

The book contains a collection of three essays by Cynthia O Valdes, Kerry Nguyen Long, and Artemio C Barbosa, on the subject of stoneware jars. The introduction provides a comparative picture of jar types found in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia. The history and trade essay is an examination of historical facts relevant to the study of jars as well as trading routes and diverse nationalities involved in this trade into the archipelago. The third essay is an ethnographic study of the role of jars in Philippines rituals.



 CHINESE AND SOUTHEAST ASIAN GREENWARE FOUND IN THE PHILIPPINES - Cynthia O Valdez and Allison I Diem (editors) - © The Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines, 1991 The publication of this catalog coincided with the opening of an exhibition with the same title. It features articles written by members of the Society: Rita C Tan, Josefina P Manahan, Edwin R Bautista, Cynthia O. Valdes, Allison I Diem, Mary G Stephen. The forward was written my Connie Carmelo Pascal.

Strategically located in the gateway of the far-flung maritime trade route stretching from the South China Sea to the Persian Gulf, the Philippines was a vital market for the ceramic exports of China.

While the exhibition of Chinese greenware showcases the long history of its manufacture, it also serves as a gauge of the economic climate prevailing then for prehistoric Filipinos. Other than being admired for their artistic merits, these artifacts afford us a glimpse of our past.

The exhibition wares covered a wide range of material from the Tang (618-906 A.D.) to the Ming (1368-1644 A.D.) dynasties produced in northern, central, and southern Zhejiang. To complete the representations of greenware found in the Philippines, those from Fujian, Guangdong, and Jiangxi were also included in the exhibition. Since provinces along the China coast heavily engaged in overseas trade, excavations throughout the Philippine islands have yielded an astounding quantity of Fujian and Guangdong wares. Represented in the exhibition are Longquan-type greenwares of Fujian from the Song (960-1279 A.D.) and the Yuan (1279-1368 A.D.) dynasties and of Guangdong from the Ming dynasty. The greenware of Jiangxi from early Qing are the only non-excavated material. They are heirloom pieces imported from China in the 17th century used for ceremonial rather than burial purposes among the Cordillera people of northern Luzon and the muslims in Mindanao.

A separate section introduces the Southeast Asian greenware. It also gives a background history of the industry in Thailand, Vietnam, and Champa and discusses the characteristics of these ceramics

GUANGDONG CERAMICS FROM BUTUAN AND OTHER PHILIPPINE SITES Brown, Roxanne M. (editor) - © The Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines, 1989
This catalogue, edited by Roxanna Brown, is the first publication of the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines Incorporated.

Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, is a thickly forested lowland area in the northeastern tip of the island of Mindanao. Recent finds of large plank-built and edge-pegged wooden boats together with numerous ceramic and other archaeological material, have brought international attention once again to what could have been in ancient times, a busy trading center, interacting with its South Chinese as well as Southeast Asian neighbors in the centuries before the coming of Europeans to Philippine shores.

In recognition of the far-reaching implications of Butuan recoveries in the pre-/protohistoric research of the Southeast Asian region, the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines jointly with the National Museum presented an exhibition: Guangdong Ceramics Found in Butuan and Other Sites in October 1988 at the National Museum Gallery in Manila. Exhibited were Guangdong ceramics, which represent majority of wares being discovered in Butuan, as well as other fine-quality wares from Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Satingphra-type Thai kendi also found in this unique site.

In addition to the exhibition pieces illustrated in this catalogue, also featured are articles by internationally known ceramicists: James C. Y. Watt, Peter Y. K. Lam, and Roxanna Brown; contributions from National Museum officials: Alfredo E. Evangelista, Wilfredo P. Ronquillo, and Rita Cembrano; and our own Society member, also Exhibition Chairperson, Rita C. Tan. Foreword is by Society President Cynthia O. Valdes.

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