Golden Tara of Agusan

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This golden figurine of a female deity is the first image identified to be of Indian origin. In 1917, it was accidentally discovered by a Manobo woman in the banks of the Wawa River in Agusan, Mindanao after a heavy rain. Shortly after that, Philippines’ pioneer prehistorian H. Otley Beyer declared it as “the most spectacular find yet made in Philippine archaeology.”

The gold Agusan image, which measures five and a half inches tall and weighs nearly four pounds of 21-carat gold, is now displayed in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, USA. [1]

As for its origin, Beyer suggested that it was made by a Javanese expatriate who was mining Agusan for gold at that time. Dutch historian F.D.K. Bosch, on the other hand, said that it was made by a pre-colonial Filipino because the design lacks the distinct Javanese craftsmanship.

If the second theory is to be believed, the gold image of Agusan suggests that the prehistoric Filipinos were influenced by the traders from the Hindu-Malayan culture, such as the Majapahit Empire. The Visayas, for instance, is said to be named after the last Southeast Hindu Prince Srivijaya. [1]

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