Welcome to our Dream
The Museum of Cordilleran Sculpture was founded by George and Candida Ida Schenk over 30 years ago. George Schenk is from Washington State, USA, is a renowned horticulturist and an award winning author of several books, such as The Complete Shade Gardner 1984, Moss Gardening 1997, Rock Gardens 1969 and Gardening with Friends 1992. Together with his wife Candida Ida Schenk, who is from Vancouver, Canada, they have made their home in Banaue to further their dream of preserving this incredible culture from extinction. George has become a specialist in the art of the peoples of the Philippine Cordillera and has made a documentary depicting the effects of the international market for these primitive carvings on the lives of these rice farmers and carvers. This documentary is available for viewing in DVD format.
What began as a small antique store in Intermuros, Makati, Manila over 3 decades ago has evolved into dream to preserve a culture that is slowly dying. Each time a piece of art sold to a private collector, it was a realization for the Schenks, that the Ifugao people were loosing a small piece of their culture. It would become a "private" treasured piece of art, available only to those who knew its' owner. It was with this knowledge that the store metamorphosed slowly into a collection of Cordilleras Art and the pieces that had been collected were no longer for sale but open for viewing to the public. The collection moved to its original roots, in Ifugao in the city of Banaue and opened its doors to the public. It is an institution devoted exclusively to the Cordilleras arts and culture. There are over 1,000 pieces in the collection of the Museum, ranging from large-scale, carved wooden Bululs, masks to smaller scale figures, textiles, utilitarian objects, and composite objects. These pieces are important as they preserve the religious and cultural legacy of the Ifugao people that is fast disappearing in a globalized world.
Our permanent exhibit features an extensive display of rare bulul idols; "(T)he bulul spirit images are fine examples of abstract art, for the Ifugao woodcarver expresses his feelings rather than attempts realistic representation. The distortion, as many observers want to call it, results from emphasis being placed on the quality of 'other worldliness' or the 'preternatur ."Alfredo Evangelista, National Museum of the Philippines, 1970s.
They were used for initiations, rites of passage, funerals, agricultural ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, harvest festivals, and veneration of the ancestors. They are used to enforce laws of the land and exemplify good moral behavior and the dangers of evil. In traditional Ifugao culture, these pagan idols are central and essential to the spiritual and cultural life of the Cordilleras.
Since opening its doors over a decade ago in Banaue, the Schenks have built a new home for the collection (just up the street) which is bigger, thus allowing them to showcase their collection, in the space it deserves.
In the photo left to right: Candida Ida Schenk, Chris and Caterina Manderson and George Schenk, 2008.