Episode 1: A 40-Year Legacy Project

Welcome to Museo de Intramuros! This museum is managed by the Intramuros Administration is a legacy project of the agency. It is a product of 40 years of hard work which finally opened its doors to the public in May 2019. In our virtual tour, let’s first take a look at the physical structure.

Episode 2: The Immaculate Conception

The entire exhibit is entitled Imagenes/Indigena: The Indio Response to Evangelization. The Museo would like to present the story of evangelization in the context of colonization seen from the perspective of the Filipinos. The religious art displayed in this exhibit are seen as a zone of contact and a vehicle of translation. Imagine two different worlds, two different cultures meeting and trying to understand each other and reacting to each other, and art is their common ground. However, the colonizer, the one evangelizing, is imposing its way of understanding to the colonized.

Episode 3: The Religious Orders

This gallery as planned will discuss in the future the arrival of the religious orders in the Philippines. For now, it contains images of the Saints that belong to each order. Devotion to these saints were propagated by their respective orders in the Philippines. Most of the images are large scale and came from church altars. Churches that were built by a particular order are usually furnished with images of the saints that they advocate or those that were “produced” by the order. For this gallery, we shall also discuss the interesting facts about these saints as well as their iconographies.

Episode 4: The Patronato Real and Church Building

This is the courtyard gallery. After we have discussed the arrival of the five religious orders that played a significant role in the evangelization of the Philippines, we will now take a look into how churches were built in the center of pueblos created by the reduccion system.

Episode 5: Larawan: Religious Colonial Paintings

In contempt, the missionaries destroyed every examples of the images of indio deity that they encountered, calling them “horrid, ugly, and evil,” which influenced our perspective in re-viewing Pre-Hispanic divinities. The missionaries quickly replaced what they destroyed with more compatible painted and carved figures, with human like, hence, approachable, even amiable, appearance. These figures also look daunting, hence, strangely powerful in appearance. The gallery traces the history of religious painting in the Philippines in the context of evangelization.

Episode 6: Sacramento: The Centrality of the Main Altar

As more churches were built by the Augustinians, Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits, and Recollects, the need for silver ecclesiastical objects grew in the late sixteenth to the nineteenth century. The Filipinos, though excellent goldsmiths, were not familiar with silversmithing, perhaps because silver was not popular, for it tarnished quickly. Just like in the case of religious paintings, the friars had no recourse during the early seventeenth century but to rely on expert silversmiths from China. Chinese artisans valued silver very highly preferring it to gold because it was the standard currency in China. All the early objects were simple and relied on forms and proportion for their beauty. Designs and processes became more sophisticated toward the second half of the seventeenth century. Filipino silversmiths, descendants of the first Chinese artisans who had by now intermarried for generations with Filipinos and were mostly based in Quiapo were adept in all aspects of the silversmith trade. They produced masterpieces, and mastered gilding and plating.

Episode 7: The Indio Response

In this last gallery, we find the synthesis of the whole exhibition. The indios’ initial response to evangelization was personal and intimate. Juana, the wife of Rajah Humabon reportedly cried when she saw the image of the Sto. Niño. The inido’s response was not influenced by doctrinal instructions; or if it was, its effect was minimal. The indigenous people’s perception of godhood was founded on their ancestral or anito system and its native pantheon of gods, as protectors or dispensers of good and evil. In the dawn of the production of ecclesiastic art in the Philippines, the early carvers were unschooled. The early images were often clumsy, ugly even. Yet they were compelling, visceral.

For more information contact the Center for Intramuros Studies via research@intramuros.gov.ph
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