BACK TO MAIN PAGEKALINGA TEXTILES


Gilamat

The gilamat ka-in (skirt) was traditionally woven in Lubuagan, but has become universally used all over Kalinga. Different regions even have their own style. It is usually woven in double threaded plain weave, but some are also single thread. The colours indigo and red symbolise sky and ground - the national colours of Kalinga. The yellow portion is embroidered and depicts mountains. Yellow symbolises wealth, as do the embroidered plants that refer to growth and fertility. A lone coin is attched as a pendant.

The ka-in is wrapped around the waist, and then the undecorated part on top is folded down. Personal belongings are stored in the folded part. The manner in which the ka-in is worn varies regionally. In the north it is worn long, in the south short. In Pasil it is worn with the vent askew. 

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The main difference between this ka-in and the be-e following below is that the gee string is in perfect condition, while the female counterpart shows strong signs of wear. The be-e was used exclusively for rituals, however, it is obvious that the ka-in was used much more often. Although it is more common in modern times for women to wear traditional attire than men in Kalinga, it is more plausible that the additional wear is due to the ka-in beeing worn continuously for protection against malevalent ancestral spirits. The thousands of lozenge shapes woven into the textile are thought to pacify spirits, since they halt to count the number of elements in the design before continuing on their mission.

In stead of the supplementary weft found on most Kalinga ka-in, in this type of textile the striped pattern is applied by double knitting.

One of the special features of the ka-in is the joins of the pannels that are knotted together in traditional manner of fine Itneg/Gaddang/Kalinga textiles. Normally this knotting is executed in a characteristic twotone or threetone design, but in this case the knotting is in the same colour as the rest of the textile.

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This be-e is from the Lubo region of Kalinga, and is dyed with a deep indigo. The diamond twill is in three layers, and extremely tight, verifying that Kalinga textiles rank with Itneg and Gaddang textiles to have the finest weave in the Philippines. The fiber is thought to be Cagayan Valley cotton. Based upon interviews with informants from the region, and comparison with other similar textiles, it is estimated that the textile is at least 100 years old. Although the indigo dye is remarkably dark, this can be explained by the fact that the textile has not been worn often, and probably not washed many times.

It is said that the textile was worn during ritual sacrefices of pigs by an upper class Tinglayan tribe man. A matching ka-in (see item above) was owned by the wife. Similar textiles in cotton and bark fiber are well known, and also exist in white. These have been used for daily wear as well as funerary burrial cloths. The width of the textile is 19cm.

The ends have nine and seven rows of tripple double knits respectively. This aesthetic concept is present in most loin cloths and bark cloths from the region, and manifests itself in the form of  supplementary weft, beading or embroidery. The significance of the design is lost history, however it is theorised (based upon Itneg traditional beliefs) that irregularities in the number of lines are signatures of the weaver/maker, and portals for spirits to enter and leave.

Close-up of the diamond twill. The diamonds are about 3,5mm wide.

A quintipple double knit marks the end edges, and a fine knotting decorates the sides and bottoms of the end regions.

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COLLECTION OF

RIJKSMUSEUM VOOR VOLKENKUNDE

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Bark cloth
blouse. Collected by Alexander Schadenberg, ca. 1890

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Embroidered cape made from Ilocano textile.