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Monday, December 24, 2012


Babaylan poet-scholar Leny M. Strobel sends over an image of a chair from the Cordillera, Philippines:

I love it-- would someone please make Moi a miniature version? :)

I appreciate this chair for many reasons (its sculptural element, the innate spirit that lives within (not all objects carry a spirit), its simple but welcoming presence, etc.).  But the element that continues to strike me is how it reflects its culture through its form: by being squat, it makes the sitter sit low to the ground and that's significant.  To lazily quote from the Cordillera Wikipedia page:

Cordillerans view land as the source of life, an integral part of their cultural identity, that traces its origins from the land. Land is considered sacred and tribal land can neither be owned nor sold, but it nurtured to produce life for the communal benefit. For Cordillerans, the loss of their land, or their alienation from it, can be equivalent to taking their lives. It is because of this belief that Cordillerans now and in the past have willingly shed blood to defend their domain from colonisers, and have fought for the right to remain on their land.
A higher positioning of the seat would make the sitter farther away from the floor, the land.  So the design bespeaks a marvelous fit between Form and Content.

Having said that, the above is just my take on the chair as I look at it and reflect on what I know of the Cordillera (I grew up as a child partly in Baguio, part of the Cordillera).  If someone actually knows about chair design and how this Cordiller chair was made and/or designed in this manner, please do let me know (

Thanks, Leny!

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