Who knows if a visitor to the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, more commonly known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, at the turn of the century, would have remembered this model of a Vinta, a traditional boat of the Moro in the southern Philippines, amongst the crazy assemblage of objects, dioramas and even people “brought” back to the United States from the Philippines for display. This model, with its faded sail, seems more reminiscent of the 1936 black and white film Zamboaga with its incredible scenes of vintas than the reality, which as Charles Baker Jr. described in 1939: “they are brown and scarlet, blue and red; tans, yellows with unbleached white.” Still, even misrigged (the sail should be upwards at a 30 degree angle rather than horizontal) the model with its detailed locks for the steering paddle and beautiful bamboo outriggers is a fascinating glimpse into the Moro peoples of Mindanao and in particular their lives on the Sula Sea. Click to read more.
The boat model cataloged in the Peabody’s collection as “model of sailing boat” (60-20-70/D2459) offers a unique window into the history of the Philippines. Originating from the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines around the beginning of the twentieth century, this model is of a double outrigger sailing vessel from the Moro people, a collection of Muslim ethnic groups in this part of the Philippines. With a rich history that is both intertwined with and distinct from that of the rest of the Philippines, the Moro’s relationship with the sea helps to explain much about their culture and society. This model in particular reveals much about the Moro’s interactions with non-Muslim ethnic groups in this area, and further study of this artifact will help illuminate much about the history of Islam in this part of Southeast Asia. Click to read more.
Above is an image of a “model of a sailboat” from the Philippines. This model is likely a 1-2 man vinta double-outrigger canoe from before the 20th century, and was built in Zamboanga City, Mindanao, Philippines. The residents of this city, the Moro people, are of Muslim heritage and are known for the use of the vinta boats to fish and gather sea items in order to keep their strong exporting economy maintained. Because of the double-outriggers, the boat is made to be stable in rougher waters, and can reach higher speeds for a smaller boat. The sail, although faded now, has vibrant colors to emphasize the colorful history and culture of the Moro people. The vinta boat in present day is still a highly significant symbol to the people of Zamboanga City, Mindanao, being used for transportation of people and goods between local islands. Click to read more.
Content of this page provided by students of Anthro 1218: Shipwrecks and Seafarers, Piracy and Plundering: An Introduction to Maritime Archaeology.