1)Baliuag, Bulacan or Angeles, Pampanga. 2) Private Collection, United States.
The United States was the colony’s biggest trading partner during the 1st three-quarters of the 19th century. Periodicals and magazines brought in by American traders and businessmen introduced the Sheraton Style of furniture as interpreted by Duncan Phyfe in New York. The style became popular in the Philippines during the 2nd quarter of the 19th century onwards and greatly influenced furniture made in Gapan, Nueva Ecija and Baliwag, Bulacan. In the early 20th century, Teodoro Tinio of Angeles, Pampanga began making inlaid furniture that were greatly admired by American servicemen in Fort Stotsenberg (now Clark Field), who bought them to bring home to the United States as souvenirs.
This small and unusually high narra sideboard in the Sheraton Style is part of a dining set that included the so-called ‘magic table’ and set of dining chairs. It has a serpentine front with a wide bow-shaped center flanked by narrower concave sides and stands on six tapering legs. The four legs in front and the two behind have turned, tapering shafts carved with reeds resting on a small bun foot topped by a turned reel surmounted by a ring. A vase and spool turning above the reeded shaft continues upward to become the carcass frame. The turned leg replaced the tapering square legs of Sheraton style furniture after the 1850s.
The square upper part of the leg has line moldings and is inlaid on the exposed sides with a stellar flower composed of eight elongated diamond-shaped lozenges radiating from a central bone disk. The two pairs of legs in front that support the concave sections are joined together by concave, bow-shaped arched aprons bordered with lanite line-inlay at the bottom and inlaid with a stellar flower in the middle. Wider, straight and narrow arched aprons with the same pattern and inlay join the side legs together. The wide apron in the middle, actually a drawer and can be pulled out, is a double-yoke shaped arch ornamented with an inlaid pattern of symmetrical lacy vines of lanite with extremely fine diamond-shaped lozenges forming leaves. The horizontal carcass frames and drawer supports of the piece are inlaid in front and at the sides with a series of diamond-shaped lozenges within a border of molded edges.
The sideboard has a pair of drawers, one on top of each other, flanking a single, wide one at the center which is on the same level as the upper drawers. Those at the sides have concave faces, each with a keyhole and turned kamagong drawer pull inlaid with a bone disc. The bow-fronted middle drawer has a pair of pulls and a large inlaid pattern of curving vines with extremely fine diamond-shaped leaves practically covering the entire face of each drawer.
The sides of the sideboard is carved with a large almost-square carved panel inlaid with a border of diamond-shaped lozenges like those on the carcass frames that enclose a large pattern of lacy vines and diamond-shaped leaves surrounding a stellar flower at the center.
The top of the sideboard is a single, beautifully grained narra plank with a serpentine front, its edges incised with a pair of grooved lines to form a border of straight moldings on either side of diamond-shaped lozenges of carabao bone arranged just like those in the horizontal carcass frames.
-Martin I. Tinio, Jr.