Wooden bowl


Author: unknown
Date: 1947-1952
Material: wood
Dimensions: H. 0,05 x D. 15,5 cm
Origin: Made in Occupied Japan
Reference: D.851 A.619
On display: Santa Maria Museum
Notes: This wooden bowl holds a distinguished place in the deposit of Santo Espírito parish, kept by Santa Maria Museum, connecting the Island to World War II and its outcome.
The bowl was produced after the war and during Japan’s occupation by the US, then under the administration of North-American General Douglas McArthur, the hero of Philippines and future ruler of Japan. It is datable from between 1947 and 1952, given the information at the bottom.
Japanese defeat and the massive destruction of its economical infrastructures, particularly its factories, more devoted to weaponry manufacturing during the period ranging from the 1930s (Japan’s expansionism in Asia) to 1945, the moment of defeat, led to the need of searching for alternatives to pottery production. It was under the American administration that the option of using wood to produce utilitarian objects came up. The manufacture of pieces of this kind, currently fallen into disuse, achieved some relevance in the Far East.
How did this bowl arrive in Santa Maria? Probably through some kind of trade with some North American GI, who brought it as a souvenir from Japan, after being demobilized from the Pacific War.
We can only conjecture, since Father José Maria Amaral, who collected it, has left neither any record about the owner nor any historical account concerning the bowl.