Physical Adornment

People adorn themselves during special occasions especially during ritualized marriage ceremonies and on community ritual occasions such as rice rituals amongst the Bontoc and Kankanaey.
Several photographs taken during the late 19th up to the 20th century portray people with physical adornment. Men and women have often used beads (from seeds, stones, and glass), shells, and animal remains to produce artistic objects that they used to adorn themselves. Several objects were made using materials from the forests and rivers. Other materials like beads were traded from adjacent lowland communities. Some objects incorporated rattan weaving designs. Textiles were produced and made into garments and blankets.

Physical ornamentation revealed rank and status and are gendered in their designs as several objects in the collection would show. The Linden-Museum acquired the objects as early as 1905. Villages continue to produce some of these objects for use in contemporary cultural festivals and meetings that are now annually held in various settings. Igorot diasporas have organized themselves in various parts of Europe and in North America such as the Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK Europe (ICBE) and the Igorot Global Organization (IGO) to name a few, and have actively held conferences and events that celebrated Igorot cultural heritage.

Text: Prof. Dr. Leah Abayao

Necklace

Necklace made out of beads.

Tangkil

A man’s upper arm ornament made out of boar’s tusks. With a basketry weave and rattan tie. Men wear a pair of this during ceremonies and rituals such as in the begnas ritual for the rice production. This material is now considered an heirloom. Materials are no longer available for its production. But nowadays, this ornament is popularly reproduced and worn during cultural festivals.

Tangkil

A man’s upper arm ornament made out of boar’s tusk. With basketry weave and rattan used to attach some strands of hair. Men wear a pair of this during ceremonies and rituals such as in the begnas ritual for the rice production. This material is now considered an heirloom. Materials are no longer available for its production. But nowadays, this ornament is popularly reproduced and worn during cultural festivals.

Kattagang

Woven headgear from the Pasil, Kalinga using dyed materials. The design and colour of this object is distinct to Kalinga communities. Man’s personal adornment which was also used as storage of personal items such as tobacco. It was worn further back on the head and secured with a tie across forehead. This was useful especially as men walked to the neighbouring villages or when they attend festivities. Similar designs can be found in Kalinga villages. Some elders still wear this during festivities or occasions.

Suklong

Woven headgear using dyed materials. Man’s personal adornment which was also used as storage of personal items such as tobacco. It is worn further back on the head and secured with a tie across forehead. Several other designs can be found in the Bontoc – Kankanaey area. Some elders in Bontoc and nearby villages still wear the Suklong during festivities or occasions.

Appaki Necklace

A necklace made out of Appaki seeds of a plant . This is commonly used in the villages in the Cordillera. Strings longer that this necklace is usually part of the Ifugao dukaw (this collection). Some communities continue to produce this necklace and have it sold in curio shops or during the annual cultural festivities. Contemporary necklace and bags are also produced using the appaki seeds.

Arm Beads

Arm ornament worn by women of the Tingguian ethnic group of Abra. It is made from glass and ceramic beads.

Hapeeng

A rattan woven backpack with cover and straps. It was designed to allow flexibility in carrying loads when travelling long distance, mostly by foot. It was also used in storing personal belongings. Food, clothing and other personal belongings were carried or stored with this object. One of the several backpacks produced by Ifugaos. Containers of this kind are no longer popular in Ifugao as several clothed and leather based commercial backbacks have gradually been introduced. Contemporary versions of this object are made nowadays for sale to tourists.

Suklong

A finely woven headgear using dyed materials, boar’s tusk and beads. A pin with an eagle design at the center. It was worn by men and it was primarily used as a storage for personal items such as tobacco. It is worn on the back of the head and secured with the black beads string across forehead. Several other designs can be found in the Bontoc - Kankanaey area. Some elders in Bontoc and nearby villages still wear the suklong during festivities or special occasions.

Tangkil

A man’s upper arm ornament made out of boar’s tusk. With a basketry weave and a wooden figure with feathers attached. With patina. Collector notes this is from Bontoc and is “amulet”. Men wear a pair of this during ceremonies and rituals such as in the begnas ritual for the rice production. This material is now considered an heirloom. Materials are no longer available for its production. But nowadays, this ornament is popularly reproduced and worn during cultural festivals.

Textile

Collector noted that this is a “women’s skirt”.

Textile

Collector noted that this is a “women’s skirt”.

Textile

Collector noted that this is a “burial shroud”.

Dukaw or Chukaw

A bronze anthropomorphic figure attached to a small piece of wood. It is part of a headdress called dungdung, worn on the head of a woman during her marriage ceremony called uya-uy. It was only worn by the Ifugao kadangyan propertied elite. The dukaw is attached to the long inipul strings of beads, forming the headdress. This is no longer produced nowadays since marriage rites are primarily celebrated by Christian priests. Some families incorporate traditional marriage rites in contemporary Christian marriage ceremonies.

Kango

A hornbill skull and beak used as part of the headdress called kango (name of hornbill bird) that is worn by men during the uya-uy marriage ceremony. The kango headdress is composed of the skull and beak of the hornbill and decorated with beads, (made of glass and sometimes seeds), feathers and a newly woven man’s garb. The garb was worn around the head and the loose ends hang down reaching the waist. It was only worn by the Ifugao kadangyan propertied elite. This is no longer produced nowadays since marriage rites are primarily celebrated by Christian priests. Some families incorporate traditional marriage rites in contemporary Christian marriage ceremonies.

Boaya necklace

Necklace made from boar’s tusks and runo reed in between. Men wear this together with the tangkil (this collection) during ceremonies and rituals such as in the begnas ritual for rice production. Observable inlaid designs on the runo sticks. Rattan basketry weave is designed on each of the tusks. It is worn by priests and warriors during rituals. Older versions of this are made from crocodile teeth, which is why this ornament is named after the local term for crocodile. Such objects are now considered a heirloom. Traditional materials are no longer available for their production. But nowadays, this ornament is sometimes reproduced and worn during cultural festivals.

Textile

Collector noted this is a “loincloth”.

Textile

Collector noted this is a “blanket”.

Textile

Collector noted this is a “skirt and belt”.

Ginutto

A belt worn by men made from disk shape rings of shells. It is worn together with the bolo knife in its wooden sheath. Shells were attached using a combination of cotton thread, bark thread and rattan. The rings hang down when worn by men. One big shell is attached at the middle where a tie holds the whole ornament to the scabbard with the belt. The number of shells and the length of the belt vary. It is a highly valued possession among Ifugaos and only the propertied elite wear a ginutto during festive occasions such as marriage ceremonies. They material re now considered as heirlooms. Materials are no longer available for their production. But nowadays, these ornaments are popularly reproduced and worn during cultural festivals.

Tangkil

A man’s upper arm ornament made out of boar’s tusk. Men wear a pair of this during ceremonies and rituals such as in the begnas ritual for the rice production. With a basketry weave and a wooden figure with hair. This material is now considered an heirloom. Materials are no longer available for its production. But nowadays, this ornament is popularly reproduced and worn during cultural festivals.