Jackwood Art

"Mortars & Pestles". Copyright Jessie T. Ponce 2011

To the makers of these items it’s probably just another source of livelihood but to me it’s an art formwood carving with practical uses.  These items are on display at stalls along the highway in Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur, the Philippines.  They were carved from the trunks of jackfruit trees (see my previous post, “Tropical Fruit Facts & Legends: Jackfruit – The World’s Largest Fruit”) and are being sold mainly as wooden kitchenwares and tools.

"Jackwood Stall". Copyright Jessie T. Ponce 2011

"Sun-dried". Copyright Jessie T. Ponce 2011

Jackfruit lumber or “jackwood” is considered superior to teak when it comes to making furniture and carving items such as those in the photos.  It is beautifully textured with colors varying from light yellow to reddish brown when mature.  In Cebu City where guitar-making is most popular, jackwood is a preferred material for guitar parts and is often used as an indicator for assessing the quality of the instrument.

"Serving Trays". Copyright Jessie T. Ponce 2011

"Jackwood Set". Copyright Jessie T. Ponce 2011

The carved items in the shops in Santa Cruz include mortars and pestles, chopping boards, serving trays, sungka (a traditional game), and decorative figures.  The shape of serving trays usually indicate the type of food that can be served in it; pig-shaped for lechon (roast pig),  fish-shaped for fish dishes, fruit-shaped for fruit deserts, etc.  Apparently, they can function as table decor at the same time.

"Fruits". Copyright Jessie T. Ponce 2011

"Art Shop". Copyright Jessie T. Ponce 2011