Implements and Utensils

People in the Cordilleras have long practiced sculpture, blacksmithing, wood- and stone carving, pottery and basketry to produced their implements and utensils. They have artistically manufactured these objects out of plants from the forests, and from traded materials such as iron. The Ifugaos are known for carving figurative spoons, most of which were designed with anthropomorphic figures.

The Spanish missionaries who explored Ifugao in the 19th century noted that the Ifugaos ate with the spoon and further remarked that the natives from the plain ate with their fingers. They also recorded that the Ifugaos carved the spoons with objectionable figures in relief, including the images of their “false divinities”. A variety of utensils and implements used in households and in collecting food are found in this collection.

Text: Prof. Dr. Leah Abayao

Spoon

Spoon with figurative sculpture.

Spoon

Spoon with figurative sculpture.

Bitangnge

Ifugao eating container. A small bowl used for chili is attached. Carved with design on its rim, the base is carved with a platform in order for the bowl to stand still when being used. Collector noted that this item was about forty years old when he acquired it.

Hukup or Ho-op

Woven rattan and bamboo flat basket container with square base and outflaring corners. It has a fitting square cover. Used by the Ifugaos as food container primarily for cooked rice, and sweet potatoes. Collector notes that this “is used for carrying cooked rice to the fields”. Containers of this kind are rarely used nowadays in Ifugao households as many ceramic and plastic containers have gradually been introduced.

Hakda, Hagcha or Haydu

A flat woven rattan basket used to catch fish or gather snail in the rice fields. It is used at a time when the rice fields are being cleaned and prepared for planting the rice seedlings. Women skillfully use such baskets to take small sized fishes and edible shells from the disturbed rice fields. Udchang shrimps and khinga shells are often caught.

Gubu or Apayo

An implement used to trap fish, especially eel, in the rice fields. Made from rattan and bamboo laths. The sharp bamboo prings are pointed inward (so as not to allow fish to move out). The funnel-like fish trap part is woven with the stem of the bi-al plant, a vine that grows in the steep, brush-covered slopes surrounding the rice terraces. This fish trap is placed in the mud of the rice terraces. The trap is designed so that the fish pass through the funnel-shaped mouth of the trap and cannot get out again. Gubu are normally used from the time just after harvest until the next cropping season.

Gubu or Apayo

An implement used to trap fish, especially eel, in the rice fields. Made from rattan and bamboo laths. The sharp bamboo prings are pointed inward (so as not to allow fish to move out). The funnel-like fish trap part is woven with the stem of the bi-al plant, a vine that grows in the steep, brush-covered slopes surrounding the rice terraces. This fish trap is placed in the mud of the rice terraces. The trap is designed so that the fish pass through the funnel-shaped mouth of the trap and cannot get out again. Gubu are normally used from the time just after harvest until the next cropping season.

Spoon

Spoon with figurative sculpture.

Hinalong

Smaller version of the Ifugao hinalong bolo with its heot scabbard. The scabbard is made out of wood with rattan basketry design. Men would normally own one as this is very useful for cutting almost anything. It is often personalized by the owners who would put a mark or design on it or, in nowadays, etch their name on it.

Spoon

Spoon with female figurative sculpture.

Patiw

Wooden spice (e.g. chilli) container with cover from Ifugao. In the past, some households planted chilli in their backyards. Chilli is crushed and used in its raw form and it is often used by men to season meat dishes.

Clay container

Clay pot container with wood cover and stand. With geometric designs similar to some designs of tattooing in Kalinga villages.

Ulbong or Orpfong

Woven container with cover and braided handle used for storing husked or pounded rice (from the mortar and pestle). The based is made of coiled single flat piece of rattan. A lizard design was woven on to the outer part of the container. Before the introduction of plastic and ceramic rice bins, each house owned one of this. The container was primarily used to protect the rice from unwanted insects and kept the desired rice moisture and taste for days. Each household would store pounded rice so it will be ready for cooking. Containers like this are kept inside the Ifugao traditional house. It was a practice to keep this container filled with some rice contents.

Kopit

A small rattan woven container with cover. Baskets like this were used by men to store tobacco and other personal belongings. With patina.

Uppig

Finely woven rattan container with cover. Used to carry food and serve as a “lunch basket”.

Tupil

Finely woven rattan container with cover and straps. Used to carry food and serve as a “lunch basket”. In some villages, this container was also used in storing legumes such as peas and mung beans.

Seed Container

A bamboo container with rattan basketry weave around it. With a cover and braided handle. Some Ifugao villages store their rice seeds in bamboo and rattan containers. Over the years, the Ifugaos have planted many varieties of rice. They have observed the characteristics of each of these varieties s this was very important in the traditional rice production.