Ceramics make strange bedfellows: The contributions of the Oriental Ceramics Society of the Philippines to Philippine archaeology

Grace Barretto-Tesoro

Abstract


The Oriental Ceramics Society of the Philippines (OCSP) is an organization composed of private collectors and ceramic enthusiasts interested in the study of foreign ceramics recovered in the Philippines. At present, OCSP has published seven books on ceramics and holds regular monthly talks, not just on ceramics, but also on Philippine history and culture. Generally, archaeologists have not really considered OCSP’s significance and its role in providing information on Philippine history through foreign ceramics. This research paper seeks to examine OCSP’s contributions to Philippine archaeology through their publications. The OCSP books, which deal with the aesthetics and origins of ceramics, are regularly consulted by archaeologists and students to identify foreign ceramics recovered from archaeological sites. Despite the perceived differences in the acquisition of artifacts between OCSP members and archaeology practitioners, I propose that OCSP has provided academics and non-academics with valuable information on ceramic technology and ceramic trade that can be utilized by archaeologists to better interpret the past.

Keywords: Oriental ceramics, private collection, Philippines, heritage, collectors, antiquities


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