Campus: CSU Hayward -- May 28, 2003
Filipino Art and Artifacts Find Their Home at
Cal State Hayward
A major collection of early art and artifacts from the Philippines is
preserved in the archives of the C. E. Smith Anthropology Museum at
California State University, Hayward.
Although the collection of more than 250 items includes donations from
various individuals and cultural groups, the principal donors are Robert
and Sue Krone. The Krones said that when they began looking around for
a place to donate their collection of 207 Filipino artifacts, some hundreds
of years old, they were told to look no farther than Cal State Hayward.
“The ambassador at the Philippines embassy in Los Angeles told
us the best people to care for these pieces were with the Center for
Filipino Studies at Cal State Hayward,” said Sue Krone. “He
had heard about the Center for Filipino Studies and the Filipino Studies
degree program there and recommended we offer our collection to them.”
Robert Krone is a professor emeritus in systems management from the
University of Southern California and still teaches all over the world
in addition to current duties at the University of South Australia and
La Sierra University in Riverside, CA. Sue Krone has accompanied her
husband on his travels throughout the Far East and became somewhat of
an authority on art, artifacts and antiques of the Philippines. They
live in Fallbrook, near San Diego.
“Over the years we made many long-lasting friendships with people
in the Philippines, and they knew how interested we were in historic
pieces,” said Sue Krone. “They would take us to remote villages
and markets in the islands, the mountain provinces as well as the lowlands.
Other pieces we found just by our own exploration.”
Sue Krone said she has been collecting antiquities since she was 15.
She and her husband, both 72 are still fascinated with the Philippines.
“Although Cal State Hayward has things we’ve collected,
such as a very old rice god statuette and a warrior’s belt, just
as important are the books we donated,” she said. “Books
on antiques of the Philippines are hard to come by, and we made sure
they would be a part of our gift to the university.”
Perhaps the rarest donated volume was written by Robert Krone himself.
It is a manuscript detailing his study of the Kabayan mummies, with
original photos. The Kabayan mummy caves are located about 140 miles
north of Manila,. The mummies of the Ibaloi tribe in Benguet province
lay undisturbed for centuries, until the early 1900s, when loggers accidentally
found mummies in several caves, together with hundreds of skulls and
wooden coffins in the town of Kabayan. The caves are on the list of
the 100 most endangered historical sites by World Monument Watch
‘Spirit of Thunder Mountain’
"The Krone Collection: The Spirit of Thunder Mountain" was
first displayed at Cal State Hayward’s C.E. Smith Museum of Anthropology
in the spring of 1995. Events surrounding the opening of the exhibit
coincided with the third annual conference of the American Association
for Filipino Psychology. Related events included a presentation by Cal
State Hayward anthropology professor and author Harry Arlo Nimmo on
the people of the southern Philippines islands of Sulu. Arlo is author
of the book, “The Song of Salanda and Other Stories of Sulu.”
The also was a dramatic production by the San Francisco Filipino troupe
Teatro Tambayan and a forum on “Filipino Cultural Forms and Practices
“This exhibition was very significant, indeed,” said exhibit
curator Virginia Agbayani, an emeritus professor and former associate
dean in fine arts from the University of the Philippines. “We
selected items that demonstrated the life of the mountain people of
the northern Philippines and their relationships with the people of
“The Krone collection was so extensive it allowed us to fully
show not just the artifacts, but the stories behind them. Some people
call that culture. I call it the story of life.” Agbayani recalled
how she worked with Meg Singson – wife of CSUH business professor
Ric Singson - and “enthusiastic students” to set up the
museum display, taking care to protect the artifacts, some from the
17th and 18th centuries, that included wooden idols and handicrafts.
“As we arranged the exhibition, I remember learning quite a few
new things myself,” said Agbayani. “And we also found that
there is a tremendous interest by Americans in Filipino culture.”
Currently she lives in Mission Hills in Southern California, but also
retains a residence on the University of the Philippines, Diliman, campus
in Quezon City.
Today, Agbayani’s projects include continuing her cultural studies,
lecturing on Filipino hero Jose Rizal and presenting seminars in southeast
Asia on teaching art in public schools.
Pieces from the Krone collection have been combined with other artifacts
for university exhibits. A collection of Filipino spears, shields and
figurines were displayed in 2001 as part of “Not Just Another
Pretty Face,” an exhibit of museum pieces demonstrating how research
makes anthropological objects valuable.
Some of the Krone’s collection of clay and wooden bulol spirit
god statuettes were a part of an exhibit of shamanic power objects displayed
from October 2002 to February 2003.
Web Connections to Filipino Artifacts
A Web site created by CSUH graduate Jeff Whittington gives researchers
and students virtual access to the collection. The Web site elements
also include an area to find information on any one of 100 Filipino
ethnic groups, from the Abaknon people in the Visayas to the Zamboangeno
on Mindanao. Visitors seeking a geographical orientation can go to the
maps page and investigate people based on where they live. There also
are sections on cultural migration, social organization, magic and omens,
food, architecture, language and literature.
The Web site notes that anthropologists are fascinated by the Philippines
because of the concentration in a small area of many different traditions
and external influences. Situated both on the cultural boundary between
Asian and Oceanic peoples, and the physical boundary of the Asiatic
and Australian continents, the archipelago provides a veritable laboratory
to explore theories involving migration, diffusion, independent invention,
and cultural materialism.
Of particular interest on the CSUH museum Web site are the photos and
descriptions of artifacts in the Krone collection, many included in
- Musical instruments include drums, nose flutes, a bamboo guitar,
bronze gongs and a variation of a Jew’s harp, used by young
men in courting. Music has always been an integral part of Filipino
life, used in courtship, entertainment, and every sort of life ritual
and religious ceremony.
- The “armory” has information on weapons, including
knives, axes and swords, spears, shields and blow guns. One of the
spears on display is the fearsome-looking Bontok si-na-la-wi-tan.
This barbed weapon used by highlands tribes is considered a war spear,
but it tends to be used more for frightening the anitos, or spirits,
who threaten solitary travelers in mountain passes.
- The pottery exhibit represents the work of the Kalinga tribe. Shards
have been found in gravesites dating back to at least 1500 B.C. The
collection include elaborate funerary pots, used as urns and in mortuary
rituals, with incised and impressed motifs such as scrolls, meanders,
triangles, and tiny circles.
- The basket collection includes those made of bamboo, rattan, pandanus,
nito, and innumerable tropical grasses. The extraordinary proliferation
and divergence of styles from group to group testifies to the longevity
of the tradition and the centrality of basketmaking to Filipino life.
- The Filipino woodworking tradition extends back at least as far
as Neolithic times. Artifacts in the museum’s collection –
and on display on the Web site – include wood containers, spoons,
sculpture, household items, and examples of the bulol, or "Ifugao
rice gods," which are carved human figurines into which a certain
class of anito spirit was said to incorporate itself when worshipped.
- Among the most interesting artifacts in the textiles exhibit are
skirts and blankets made of beaten bark using a technology which the
Ta-p'en-k'eng, or proto-Austronesians, who lived 5,000 years ago,
seem to have brought with them wherever they went.
Much of the collection can be viewed online at: http://www.isis.csueastbay/cesmith/virtmus/Philippines/Overall/Index.htm
For more information about the collection, contact Marjorie Rhodes-Ousley,
associate director of the C.E. Smith Anthropology Museum, at (510) 885-3104.
A Web site describes Cal State Hayward’s many connections to the
Philippines and includes photos of university students restoring Filipino
artifacts in the museum collection. It is located at: http://www.isis.csueastbay/cesmith/virtmus/Philippines/Overall/Intro1.htm