Sawankhalok Stoneware

Sawankhalok Stoneware | @nmenmindanao

In the photo is a Sawankhalok stoneware from Thailand, currently on display at the National Museum of the Philippines in Eastern Northern Mindanao located in Butuan City. Excavated in 1987, this headless stoneware figurine, with translucent green glaze, depicts a woman holding her infant close to her breasts.

It is believed that in the olden times, figurines like these were considered important fertility ritual items. Traces of cutting is evident on the neck part of these figurines rendering them headless. The missing heads have led some researchers to hypothesize a sacrificial ritual. However, other researchers noted that the figurines are seldom found with heads still attached and explain that the frequency of missing heads may be due to the weakness of the joint between head and body. Nonetheless, these ceramics, having been found together with other trade wares, are pieces of evidence of the participation of the ancient people of Butuan in trading with other Southeast Asian countries, Thailand for one, during the pre-colonial times.

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