By Roy Mabasa
“Anting-anting” (Tagalog for talisman or amulet), believed to provide protection, power and other types of good fortune to the bearer, finds its magical space for the world to view in one of the most prestigious museums in Paris – the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac.
Called“Anting-Anting: The Secret Soul of the Filipino,” it is the second exhibit from the Philippines to be featured at the Musée du Quai Branly in the last six years after the success of the “Philippines: Archipelago of Exchanges” in 2013.
Filipino director, playwright and curator Floy Quintos, together with visual artist Dino Dimar, flew to the French capital a couple of weeks ago to bring together a selection of Anting-Anting, sources of strength and power and a prominent feature during the Philippine Revolution.
“These objects are the product of a syncretic mix of animist, pre-colonial beliefs, popular Catholicism and cabbalistic and masonic traditions. As sources of strength and power, they were a prominent feature during the Philippine Revolution of 1898, as well as during millenarian and peasant revolts. They are still worn today by police officers, soldiers and members of secret cults as a means of protection,” the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac said in a statement describing the exhibit.
It added that Anting-Anting, as both physical objects and embodying a collective memory, “reflect the history and influences that have shaped the Philippines and the Filipino people.”
Medallions in brass, copper, wood or bone, anting-anting are natural objects worn close to the body, providing protection for the wearer, making them invincible – particularly to bullet wounds –and conferring wealth, love, and romance along with mystical power.
Philippine Ambassador to Paris Ma. Theresa Lazaro congratulated both Quintos and Dimar for the initiative to share with France and the international community an important facet of Filipino life and faith.
The “Anting-Anting” exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac runs from March 12 to May 26, 2019.