A Useful Children’s Toy for the Peabody: Though perhaps only built as a children’s toy from the southern Philippines this model of a traditional Moro Pelang is an incredibly useful ethnographic object that can reveal much about the purpose of this vessel and how it was used on the Sulu Sea. Although just one tenth the size of a full size version the three foot long model has intricate detailing and by and large matches the full size vessel. It demonstrates the intense time and effort put into the vessels, which were a critical part of life on the Sulu Sea. Click to read more.
What are those factors that go into designing a vessel? The answer to this question may at first appear to be quite simple; however, further consideration reveals that it is, in fact, rather complicated. In the case of the Peabody Museum’s model of a vinta, a double outrigger sailing canoe from the southern Philippines, the conception of and processes used in the construction of this type of vessel have clearly been shaped over time by the larger context of its use. As this model reveals, the vinta is uniquely suited to the protected waters of the Sulu Sea to which it is native, but would not fare well in the more open and unforgiving waters that characterize the northern Philippines and other areas of the South Pacific. Why, then has the vinta played such a large role in the lives of the seafaring ethnic groups of this area? An in-depth analysis of the construction of this model of a vinta in the context of the cultural history of the region reveals that many of the design decisions may not simply be a result of the unique weather patterns of the southern Philippines, but rather a larger theme of isolationism among the predominantly Muslim ethnic groups of the region. Click to read more.
The model above is likely a 1-2 man vinta double-outrigger canoe from before the 20th century, and was built in Zamboanga City, Mindanao, Philippines by the Moro people. The model is a simplified version of the vinta vessel, which was used to transport goods and people to local islands and occasionally go out on fishing trips. The hull of the vinta, roughly 10-20m, is long and narrow and made out of nearby trees called “red lauan” to form a u-shaped keel. The double outriggers are made of bamboo, which helps the vessel float and stay stable in rough waters. The construction of the narrow hull and the addition of the outriggers help the vessel reach higher speeds while comfortably navigating the waters. The square shaped sail, made from cotton canvas or palm matting, helps the vessel utilize the winds, to again reach maximize speed. Although the above model does not show this, the vessels come equipped with a rudder and one single oar used to help navigate the vinta. All of these construction techniques enhance the vessels speed and stability, making it a wildly popular vessel in Southeast Asia. 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.