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The History, Ritual and Significance of the Bulol Figures of the Philippine Ifugao People



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Spiritual Sustenance The History Ritual and Significance of the Bulol Figures of the Philippine Ifugao People Kimberly Zarate1 Jennifer Hughes2 1 Department of Media and Cultural Studies 2Department of Religious Studies University of California Riverside AUTHOR Kimberly Zarate ABSTRACT This paper examines the ritual uses and history of the bulol rice god gures of the Ifugao people in northern Luzon Philippines Anthropological and ethnographic studies of the Ifugao stress the traditional cultural and economic gravity of rice as sustenance but neglect to explicitly acknowledge how external non indigenous forces impact the religious signi cance of rice particularly the use of bulol gures in agricultural religious rituals By examining the colonial history of and recent economics and tourism in the Ifugao province as described in anthropological historical and conservationist sources I clarify how foreign cultures and religions in uence those of the Ifugao I argue that the increasing prevalence of Christianity and contemporary economic pressures have driven a decrease in the religious potency of the bulol gures by allowing the tourism market to prioritize the gures commercial value as cultural curios rather than their religious value as representations of an agriculturally ef cacious deity FA C U LT Y M E N T O R Jennifer Hughes Department of Religious Studies The UCR CHASS Connect program gives our incoming rst year students a liberal arts college experience within a large public university setting Here they learn not only broad interdisciplinary content and methods but also garner skills to succeed throughout their undergraduate career Freshman Kimberly Zarate enrolled in the CHASS rst year sequence Manifestations of Spirituality Her major project for my class on religious images Winter 09 represented original research on the Philippine Ifugao images called bulol Ms Zarate adopted key analytical categories and questions from course lecture and reading and applied these



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