PH Gold Artifacts Featured at Louvre Abu Dhabi’s World Civilizations Collection, Highlights PH Sophisticated Pre-Colonial Culture

Left photo from left: Senior Curator and Head of Conservation at the Ayala Museum Mr. Kenneth Esguerra, Louvre Abu Dhabi Director Manuel Rabaté, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, Curatorial Assistant Ms. Mariam Aldhaheri, and Louvre Abu Dhabi Curatorial Team Head Dr. Sourajya Noujaim. Right photo: The golden funerary mask from Butuan, Agusan Del Norte which was installed at the Louvre Abu Dhabi alongside funerary masks from Peru and the Levant (Lebanon or Syria).

Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana witnessed the installation of Philippine gold artifacts at Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Grand Vestibule where the Philippines joins the World Civilizations Collection on 27 June 2022.

The two artifacts, a golden funerary mask from Butuan Province and a golden cup from Nabua, Camarines Sur, are on loan from Ayala Museum.

According to Ambassador Quintana, “The 27th day of June 2022 is a milestone day in Philippines -UAE cultural relations as 2 rare and exquisite treasures dating from the 10th to 13th century were installed for exhibition at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. This collaboration is another testament on how effectively the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as a cultural beacon, plays its role of ‘bringing different cultures together to shine fresh light on the shared stories of humanity,’ thereby making the Louvre Abu Dhabi a truly universal museum.”

The Philippines has the second largest gold deposits in the world but the rich gold heritage of the Philippines is rarely talked about even in the Philippines.

When colonizers came to the islands that are now the Philippines, they encountered cultures with a highly developed knowledge of gold. It is in the whole lifestyle of the people that populated the various islands of the archipelago which was part of that area where there was a “robust maritime trade and cultural connections in Southeast Asia that was experiencing an early Asian economic boom.”

“I am grateful to the leadership of the UAE, the Ministry of Culture and Youth headed by Her Excellency Minister Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi and the wonderful members of the Louvre Abu Dhabi team headed by Director Manuel Rabaté and the curatorial team led by Dr. Souraya

Noujaim. The Filipinos are honored to be part of the narrative of world civilizations. The showcasing of this magnificent private collection from the Philippines’ premier museum, the Ayala Museum, represents a fascinating facet of Philippine history which adds great significance as we celebrate this month the 124th anniversary of Philippines independence and this year, the 48th anniversary of Philippines -UAE diplomatic relations. Indeed, this brings tremendous national pride to the Filipinos not only in UAE but Filipinos in the Philippines and around the world,” added Amb. Quintana.

Mr. Kenneth Esguerra, Senior Curator and Head of Conservation at the Ayala Museum, was on hand during the installation. He highlighted that the collaboration with Ayala Museum is Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first partnership with a museum outside of Europe and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, as well as its first cooperation with a museum from Asia. He thanked Ambassador Quintana for conceiving the idea of collaboration in 2019 which led to this remarkable cultural feat.”

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