Manunggul Jar

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Manunggul Jar
Manunggul Jar.jpg
This elaborate burial jar is topped with two figures. The front figure is the deceased man. The rear figure is holding a steering paddle directing the boat and soul of the man to the afterlife.
Year 890-710 B.C.
Type Burial jar
Dimensions 66.5 cm (26.2 in); 51 cm diameter (20 in)[1]
Location Museum of the Filipino People, The National Museum, Manila

The Manunggul Jar is a secondary burial jar excavated from a Neolithic burial site in Manunggul cave of Tabon Caves at Lipuun Point at Palawan dating from 890–710 B.C.[2] The two prominent figures at the top handle of its cover represent the journey of the soul to the after life.

The Manunggul Jar is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest Philippine pre-colonial artworks ever produced and is a considered a masterpiece. It is denoted a national treasure and it is designated as item 64-MO-74[3] by the National Museum of the Philippines. It is now housed at the Museum of the Filipino People and is one of the most popular exhibits there. It is made from clay with some sand soil.

Discovery of the jar[edit]

It was found by Dr. Robert B. Fox and Miguel Antonio in 1962. It was found alongside the discovery of the remains of Tabon Man. The faces of the figures and on the prow of the boat have eyes and mouth rendered in the same style as other artifacts of Southeast Asia of that period. Note the depiction of sea-waves on the lid. This style of decoration places this jar in the Sa Huỳnh culture pottery tradition. These are a people that migrated in an East to West migration from the Borneo-Palawan area to Southern Vietnam. The steersman's oar is missing its paddle, as is the mast in the center of the boat, against which the steersman would have braced his feet. This symbolizes that they are traveling to the next life. In secondary burial, only bones were placed in the jar, and the jar itself is not buried.


  1. ^ Ortiz, Aurora R.; Erestain, Teresita E.; Guillermo, Alice G.; Montano, Myrna C.; Pilar, Santiago A. (1976). Art: Perception & Appreciation. Makati: Goodwill Trading Co. (published 2003). p. 266. ISBN 971-11-0933-6. 
  2. ^ "Museum of the Filipino People - Archaeological Treasures (Kaban ng Lahi)". National Museum of the Philippines. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  3. ^ pp. 40-41 Father Gabriel Casal & Regalado Trota Jose, Jr., Eric S. Casino, George R. Ellis, Wilhelm G. Solheim II, The People and Art of the Philippines, printed by the Museum of Cultural History, UCLA (1981)

External links[edit]

  • "Manunggul Jar". National Museum of the Philippines. Retrieved 2013-07-02.