Early 19th c.
36" x 47" x 18" (91cm x 119cm x 46cm)
Property formerly In the Don Antonio Bantug collection
"The gallinera, a bench with a chicken (gallina in Spanish) coop under the seat, is a typical piece of Batangas furniture usually found in the kitchen or beside the backstairs of grand old houses. Farm tenants coming into town on Sunday could leave their rooster or gamecocks at their landlord’s house while attending Mass. After lunch they proceeded to the cockpit to spend the rest of the day at their favorite pastime before going back to the farm.
This piece, made entirely of molave, has a single plank seat on four straight legs. The seat supports are disguised in front by a frieze of lambrequins cut out from piece of wood by a jigsaw. Flat armrests of a serpentine shape terminating in a wide, stylized scroll are supported in front by a bracket with a jigsaw outline. The arms are low enough to be used as a pillow during catnaps. A bottom shelf is incorporated within the stretchers and is surrounded by upright slats with a central sliding panel in front to allow the gamecock to be placed inside or removed at will. The slightly slanted back of the bench has a backrest composed of a series of slats shaped like a stylized sheaf of rice stalks. The middle of each back splat is inlaid in carabao bone with elongated diamond-shapes above and below a central disk."