Lot #031
a.) Earrings (Set Of 3 Pieces) b.) Earrings (A Pair) c.) Tambourine Beads
a.) Pre-Hispanic b.) Pre-Hispanic c.) 18th Century
a.) 22-Karat Gold b.) 22-Karat Gold c.) 18-Karat Gold
a.) 3g b.) 1g c.) 14g
Starting Bid : Php 70,000
HP + BP : Php 116,800
Provenance Probably Ilocos
Prior to the coming of the Spaniards, both men and women bedecked themselves with gold jewelry. One of the more common items was ear ornaments such as the ones shown here. These were worn by slipping the earlobe into the slit and then inserting the ornament into the wide opening made into the lobe. Some lobes had openings that were over an inch in diameter, to enable the insertion of large golden earplugs that certainly made a statement.
Well into the 17th and early 18th centuries, the standard purity of gold used in the Philippines was 22-karat. The gold was acquired by panning the rivers and streams in many places throughout the islands, even along the banks of the Pasig River in Punta, Sta. Ana and in Mandaluyong.
The pair of earrings was made from a thin sheet of gold that was pressed into a clay mold. Its shape is that of a sunburst with eight points radiating from a large central boss that is surrounded by 16 miniature bosses enclosed in a ring molding. The eight points radiating from the molding are faceted and decorated with a pair of miniature bosses at the bottom of each.
During the Spanish Colonial Period, there was no such thing as a tamburin necklace. In contemporary inventories, they were always called a ‘rosario’ or rosary. More often, they were referred to as ‘un rosario con surelicario” and this is the reason why the small beads, always ten in number, are separated by larger, paternoster, beads, and the pendant, the relicario, suspended from the necklace almost always had a cross. Incidentally, the ‘rosario con surelicario’ a.k.a the ‘tamburin’ necklace, was always worn under the panuelo with the relicario or pendant hanging beneath the points of the panuelo.
It was only in the late 19th century that a tamburin was mentioned in contemporary wills, a unique incident. It was only in the 20th century that the term became popular, mainly due to the fact that pieces made during that period required the use of a tambor or frame, wherein very fine filigree wires were literally woven into lacelike patterns before being pressed into a concave mold to form half a bead.
The bracelet of beads shown here, because of their size, was certainly the paternoster beads of a rosary necklace. They are simple gold beads of 18-kt, the standard purity of gold used during the late 18th century, that are decorated at the shoulders with a ring of minute gold rings joined together.
The lozenge-shaped piece in the bracelet was originally part of an alfajor necklace. The name is derived from its shape, which is the Arabic word for ‘sweetmeat’. Locally, it took the shape of the hilis-kalamay or kakanin. The diamond-shaped at the center was made by punching a sheet of gold on a die then cutting out the pattern. It was then welded to an oval wire frame to which tiny gold wire rings were welded to form a border.
-Martin I. Tinio, Jr.