Evidence of Precolonial Cosmology from the Philippines

Author(s): Grace Barretto-tesoro

Year: 2015


Cosmology prior to European contact has been the focus of recent research in the Philippines. The objective of this paper is to investigate cosmology practiced in the Philippines prior to the introduction of Christianity during the Spanish colonial occupation from the 16th century AD onwards. This research is significant because it will show that elements of the tripartite cosmology of past populations in the Philippines which can be traced from the Neolithic period persist until the present although their exact meaning may have been lost among contemporary Philippine societies. Using data from ceramics recovered in the Philippines, this paper will explore the archaeological evidence for past cosmology dating to the 10th to the 16th centuries AD. Analysis shows that specific design elements on earthenware pots and porcelain widely distributed in the Philippines were important to the early local populations. This implies that in the precolonial porcelain trade between the Philippines and Southeast Asian and Chinese merchants, the early Filipinos were actively choosing certain designs on ceramics because they were important to their belief system.

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Cite this Record

Evidence of Precolonial Cosmology from the Philippines. Grace Barretto-tesoro. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394907)


Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;