Friday, September 22, 2017

On unearthed 'boat coffins' in Marinduque caves


Boat-coffin lid with crocodile images found in Marinduque. From the former collection of Museum of Man now with the musee du quai Bradley, Paris.

'Boat coffins' found by Marche in a sepulchral cave in Marinduque.


Discovery in Marinduque caves by the Frenchman Alfred Marche of wooden coffins with crocodile images carved in the coffin lid were found by the 1890s to be similar to those found in the rocky islet called Nosy Loapasana in Madagascar in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa.















The coffin cover and two coffins from Marinduque shown in these drawings that appeared in the Antananarvio Annual and Madagascar Magazine 1892 formed part of the collections of the Museum of Ethnography at the Trocadero (Paris) during that era.

What else do we know about these 'boat-coffins'?
At the southwestern corner of the larger tower east of Padwa (Indonesia) were several very nicely carved coffins, in one of which were the secondary burial bones of a famous warrior with a carved crocodile on the lid (Solheim 1985b:148 Pl. 18.2) - Archaeology and Culture in Southeast Asia: Unraveling the Nusantao by Wilhelm G. Solheim, 2006
The phenomenon known as "boat-coffin burial" is a mode of disposal of the dead in hollowed-out pieces of logs generally in the shape of a boat. This was a widespread practice throughout Southeast Asia from prehistoric times and, in the Philippines at least, is known to exist in certain areas to the present. The practice of boat-coffin burial in the Philippines was briefly noted in earlier expeditions by foreign scholar.
However, the first mention of boat-coffin burial as such appear in Robert B. Fox's (1963) preliminary report of excavations in western Palawan.
The earliest known archaeological explorations were conducted by Feodor Jagor and Alfred Marche in the late 19th century...
... The other islands in which boat-coffin burial is, at present, known to the author are: Mindanao, Luzon, Palawan, Negros, Panay, Marinduque and Masbate. Type sites are caves and rock shelters, generally accessible from the sea... - The Boat-Coffin Burial Complex in the Philippines and its Relation to Similar Practices in Southeast Asia, Rosa CP Tenazas, Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, Vol. 1, No. 1 March 1973.

Also read:

Ano ang mga laman ng ilang kuweba sa Marinduque at nakatago pa? 

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