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April 2011:

 

PHOTOGRAPH WITH CARVERS

 

 

Ifugao “made to order” art already appeared in the market during the last part of the Spanish era. While this form of Northern Philippine art is outside the scope of ALTACO, it is nevertheless important to understand the transition from traditional art to commercial art, as it helps us place stylistic elements within a time frame.

 

The Ifugao carver Tagiling belongs to this transitional period. His style has been emulated by subsequent carvers, and a considerable selection of “Tagilingesque” anthropomorphic figures were seen in the market during the late 1900s.

 

A photograph from Kababuyan of an aged Tagiling (right) and a carver named Tundagwi (left) taken some time before 1924 shows the two carvers together with carvings in Tagiling style. Here both carvers are resting one arm on the art. By staging the subjects in this manner, the photographer is connecting both carvers to the art. Since the theme of the photograph is very specific, it must also be assumed that the photographer was aware of the role each carver had, and that there is some relevance in the presence of Tundagwi. A carving tool can even be seen placed on the top of the lower carving - seemingly included by accident, but suspectly placed as a prop - because the carvings are already long ago finished.

 

We are left with the impression that Tagiling’s role must have been as a mentor to Tundagwi. According to Ellis (1981) master carvers sometimes finalized carvings started by rough hewers. The practice of collaboration is thus not foreign to Ifugao craftsmen.

 

From this photograph we see that it is very likely that Tagiling laid a foundation for a carving tradition in his own spirit. We now also know the name of one of the carvers who carried this tradition onwards. Furthermore, it appears that at least some of the anthropomorphic “Tagilingesque” carvings are not “fake copies” of Tagiling, but belong to the “school” of Tagiling. This school is thought to have lasted until the mid 1900s when carvers produced the last bulul to replace carvings lost during the Japanese era.

 

That other schools of carving have existed in Ifugao during the 500 or so years of known carving tradition is almost certain.

 

(Incidentally, some collectors may recall that Dolores and Manuel Tandoc kept a Tagiling stool in their shop at the Baguio palenke during the 1990s.)

 

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April 2011:

 

ROY FRANKLIN BARTON PHOTOGRAPHS SURFACE ON RUSSIAN WEBSITE

 

R. F. Barton resided in the Soviet Union prior to WWII. Now a Russian website by the name of Kunstkamera is publishing photographs taken by Barton, the majority of which are from Barton's latter Russian-American sponsored trips to the Cordilleras in 1937 and 1940. Maria Stanyukovich in St. Petersburg kindly brought this to the attention of Armand Cating, who notofied ALTACO of it.

 

The photographs are available at http://www.kunstkamera.ru/kunst-catalogue/index.seam?path=675%3A1041%3A3592137&c=PHOTO&cid=762319

 


 

January 2011:

 

ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPH OF CHARLES MARTIN LOCATED

 

Now that Charles Martin has been identified, it has become possible to recognize him in other photographs as well. Armand Cating recognized Charles Martin in a photograph at the Bentley Image Bank at the University of Michigan, and submitted the link to ALTACO. Charles Martin is located behind Secretary Worcester diagonally to the left.

 


 

December 2010:

 

PHOTOGRAPHS OF CHARLES MARTIN LOCATED

 

Charles Martin is perhaps most well known as the photographer who worked for the Manila Bureau of Science during the early 1900s. His photographs are widely published, often in connection with Dean C. Worcester, the Secretary of the Interior. For years ALTACO has attempted to locate a photograph of this renowned contributor to Cordillera photo history, but without luck. National Geographic – where Martin worked as head of the photo laboratory – kindly looked through their records, and found interesting files on him, but drew a blank as far as a photographic portrait was concerned. Luckily, networking with historians proved to be the winning strategy, and recently a message was received from Dr. Mark Rice, who had come across Charles Martin’s name in a text written by D. C. Worcester describing photographs in an album at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Two photographs were identified, in which clear images of a young Charles Martin appeared. The Newberry Library was contacted, and thanks to the generosity of this institution, ALTACO is herewith able to include one of the photographs.

 

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Charles Martin is seen here seated to the left, together with fellow US Army personnel in Mindoro. Relatively little is known about Mr. Martin. There is no information indicating that he married, and ALTACO has not been able to locate near or distant relatives who could shed light on this heroic character. Maud Jenks, the wife of Albert Jenks, is one of the few people who had any substantial contribution as far as including Charles Martin in documentary writings. It is known that Charles Martin was sent to France to study film making, and that he produced an elusive documentary film about the Philippines. He is also credited with teaming up in a successful National Geographic subsea duo that aimed at taking the first color photography ever under water.

 

Anyone who can provide further information about Charles Martin is urged to contact ALTACO at molt-and@online.no.

 


 

June 2010:

 

ROSE LAED HAS PASSED AWAY

 

Rose Laed, the proprietor of ”Kalinga Ethnic” passed away last month. Through her international marketing of highland arts and crafts, Rose has been instrumental in providing an outlet for creative people – particularly from her native province of Kalinga. Furthermore, she has realized the ambition of enabling an alternate source of income for many. As one of the most knowledgeable persons on Kalinga culture, Ms. Laed assisted researchers and collectors with information and helped locate interesting objects. ALTACO owes much to her and her kin, and will always remember her kindness and generosity.

 


 

June 2010:

 

ALTACO is back online after 4 and a half years off the air.

 


November 2005:

HIROFUMI KOBAYASHI HAS PASSED AWAY

The photographer, collector and dealer Hiro Kobayashi passed away Tuesday the 1st of November. The cause of death was brain hemorrhage.

Mr. Kobayashi traveled extensively in the Philippines, and is renown for his photographs of the minorities in Mindanao, Mindoro and Northern Luzon. His works are published in both Japanese and English, and perhaps his most well know book is "Death and Ritual: Funerary Rites in India and The Philippines". As a collector he was particularly fascinated in the Ifugao punamhan and anthropomorphic art.

Hiro Kobayashi will be missed by all.


October 2005:

A. L. KROEBER'S "KINSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES" FROM MEAD'S LIBRARY

A copy of the Kroeber classic "Kinship in the Philippines" recently sold for USD70 on ebay. The reason for the high price was that it is signed by the renown anthropologist/feminist Margaret Mead on the cover.

Initially the item reached four times this price, however, apparently the high bid was fraudulent, and the item was therefore returned to the auction block. The second time around the price reached was more in line with the expected value.

 


July 2005:

IFUGAO ANGULAR FIGURE SOLD AT CHRISTIES

 An "angular figure" sold at Christies on July 5. It is an anthropomorphic figure on a kitchen utensil, and it is a variation to several well known large figures collected during the Spanish era in Ifugao

One theory is that the angular figure represents the Ifugao aesthetic interpretation of the Spanish soldier. This is because all such angular figures are male, they wear "helmets", they have a bigger nose, and they normally have a fat rounded stomach reminiscent of body armor. (This particular example has a differing representation of the stomach area, mouth, and helmet).

 


May 2005:

CORNELIS DE WITT WILLCOX DOCUMENTS SURFACE

Three interesting documents relating to Cornelis de Witt Willcox recently surfaced on ebay. The documents had been in a collection in Florida. Willcox is the author of the 1912 book Headhunters of Northern Luzon. 


January 2004:

GADDANG WEAVERS PRODUCING KALINGA DESIGNS

The windfall of high quality brand new Kalinga style decorative textiles supplied to the market is continuing to stir interest among dealers. According to a prominent Baguio dealer these textiles are produced by Gaddang weavers, and are highly marketable among less demanding buyers.

Curiously, some of the textiles have been adapted into alternate applications and ethnic styles. For example, the ancient Kalinga "black red" twill weave skirt is now commonly found converted into the form of a Gaddang beaded loincloth.

http://home.no.net/altaco/images/Pictures%20002a.jpg 

Above: Black red Kalinga design converted into a Gaddang loincloth. With the high quality and beautiful design, this textile is comfortably priced compared to antique ones.

Other such textiles found in Baguio and Manila are white blouses with colourful supplementary weft, and various skirts.

The common factors for these textiles are 1) Kalinga style twill weave designs; and 2) high quality work with extensive use of knotting, embroidery or beading.

Although it is nice that revival of weaving has been spawned by market demand, it is important to keep in mind that these textiles are handicrafts - not rare antiques - something that is normally reflected in the price. Furthermore, the textiles are produced outside their traditional area, and are neither Kalinga nor traditional Gaddang.

Regrettably, at times stains are applied to the textiles in order to emulate heavy use. This, combined with the fact that some dealers are unfamiliar with these textiles, and unable to distinguish the new decorative textiles from antique traditional ones, renders acquisition of collectable textiles a more risky proposition for the novice.

 

 

 http://home.no.net/altaco/images/jacket.jpg

Beautifully crafted replica of the rare Kalinga style vented blouse

 


November 2003:

An Ifugao hat from the north central Ifugao rancherias of Kambulo or Batad was sold at Sotheby's. The hammer went at USD8,000. This item is similar to Ellis UCLA # 236; but different from Barton 1918. 


September 2003:

BAGUIO CITY HALL BUYING COSETENG TEXTILE COLLECTION?

According to Sun Star Baguio, Mayor Bernardo Vergara is attempting to raise two million Pesos to purchase a collection of fine Cordillera tribal textiles from the Nikki Coseteng collection. The collection is at present displayed at the City Hall under tight security. Vice Mayor Betty Lourdes Tabanda was hoping the collection would be donated by Ms. Coseteng, however, this does not seem to be the case. At a price of P2M the former Senator is offering the City Hall a huge break, since she estimates the collection to be worth about twice as much.


July 2003:

BENGUET MUMMY OFFERED FOR P310,000

According to Harley F. Palangchao at Sun.Star in Baguio, a 500 year old mummy from Benguet was advertised for sale in Europe for P310,000 in 2000. The same year about 10 other mummies were being exhibited in San Francisco. Benguet Governor Raul Molintas has asked the assistance of President Arroyo in recovering mummies, which tribal leaders believed have been stolen from the town of Kabayan. Dr. Preciosa Soliven, secretary general of the Unesco National Commission, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople have also been asked to help in recovering stolen Benguet mummies.

There is also good news: In recent years three stolen Benguet mummies have been returned to their original resting places in Kabayan after community elders identified the missing treasures as having originated from their place. A prominent family in Sagada, Mt. Province was reportedly in possession of the mummies. The first stolen Benguet mummy, which was returned to Kabayan in 1999, was Apo Anno.

The Benguet mummies were included in the World Monuments Preservation List by the American Express Foundation in 1998, and continuous preservation of the centuries-old national treasures is now undertaken
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June 2003:

INTERVIEW WITH ROBERTO MARAMBA

Roberto Maramba is probably best known in the tribal art circuit for his beautiful collection of northern Luzon adornments, and for his pioneering book "FORM AND SPLENDOR". With his inherent respect for northern Philippine cultures, he has long been a strong advocate for enlightenment and stronger awareness about this aspect of Philippine heritage.

ALTACO: As a professional designer, art has been an essential part of your life. When did you begin collecting tribal art, and what attracted you to this area?

Maramba: To escape the heat of Manila, my parents have a country house in Baguio, Mountain Province, northern Luzon. Baguio in the 70's still had beautiful scenery: perfect for hikes and horseback rides. Baguio also had the most interesting market with antiques, textiles and porcelain. Mixed in with everything were these strange necklaces of boar's tusks, beads in strange color combinations, and belts of wood and ivory rings. I remember my first purchase was an armband with fine black beads - black like frozen caviar; some large ceramic and glass beads of ochre, and green beads interspersed with brass chunks. Even back then the cost of these were a fortune to me, so I could only buy one of the pair. I was living in the States at the time. Looking at these artifacts - and living with them - made me more and more fascinated.

ALTACO: In your home, you have a diverse selection of Philippine art and antiques such as excavated blue and white porcelain, santos, betel nut boxes and baskets. What made you concentrate on collecting northern Luzon ornaments?

Maramba: While living in New York, the book «Power and Gold» by Susan Rodgers came out. Around that time my sister introduced me to her boyfriend, Eric Anderson, who was at the time collecting Naga artifacts. He saw my collection and we hit it off immediately. He also had the book. In it were the Philippine objects from the Barbier-Müller collection in Geneva. These were mostly from Mindanao (southern Philippines) and Mountain Province (northern Luzon). Many of the pieces I had seen in Baguio, but some I had even passed over as unimportant. Here was a source that showed such appreciation for what I had admired in the market. And, I knew now that these artifacts would fast disappear. Both Eric and I wanted to collect as much as we could find and afford. I really was drawn to shell, teeth and bone. I started with several «lightning belts» and the collection grew from there. My first major purchase was the trapezoidal mother of pearl necklace on the cover of my book. I paid $2000 in 1986! Because Eric and I were often interested in acquiring the same items, basically driving up the prices, we gradually gravitated in different directions. He collected textiles, and I ornaments.

 ALTACO. Use of traditional adornments among the ethnic minorities in northern Luzon declined severely during the last half of the 20th century. Was it difficult to research the subject at this late stage of the game?

Maramba: Very. The dealers at the market would inform me of their names and ethnic groups but so much information was contradictory. It was difficult to differentiate fact and myth. I started with researching at libraries in Manila (Ayala, Ateneo, Lopez-Jaena, National, CCP, etc.) then later at museums and libraries abroad (Smithsonian in Washingon DC; Field in Chicago; Volkerkundemuseum in Basel and Zurich; Rautenstrauch-Joest in Cologne, etc.). I did interviews with runners (tribal middlemen), dealers and other collectors to corroborate terminology and usage.

ALTACO. Your award winning book "Form and Splendor" was the first major book to focus exclusively on art of Northern Luzon. At the time no publisher would sponsor such a project, and you had to absorb the financial risk yourself. Against all odds you went ahead. Why?

Maramba: As an expatriate, I felt it my mission to expose this art to a wider, international audience. My goal was to present the pieces as modern art, like collages or assemblages using feathers, shell and bone as mixed media. So many foreigners could appreciate primitive art from Africa or New Guinea but no one had even heard of such art from the Philippines. I found publishers in New York and Frankfurt but they wanted to compromise my design for commercial purposes. But, after waiting for seven years, I felt it had to be produced exactly the way I designed it (I am a graphic designer). I financed the photography (which I also art directed) and the lithography to control the end result. All the rejections from publishers made me more determined to see the project through!

ALTACO: In connection with the publication of your book, your collection was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum in Manila. The exhibition had to be extended due to popular demand, yet, we see few other private collections on public display in the Philippines.

Maramba: Private collectors are just that: very private. It is considered more exclusive this way. I know collectors who have their own private museums of rare paintings or porcelain but they keep it secret except for family and very intimate friends. No pearls before swine, is their philosophy. Some even keep paintings in a safe as big as a bedroom! Theft is a problem. Many people do not want to advertise their possessions for fear of attracting robbers or even tempting their staff to pilferage. 

ALTACO: Books about northern Luzon textiles, baskets, shields and adornments have been done already, and photography in the Cordillera has also been covered. One major missing subject is ritual sculptures. Why do you think this is so? Is it too difficult a subject to cover?

Maramba: Many financially successful Filipinos still look down on Cordillera ritual sculpture as backward and savage. They abhor this image of Filipinos as living in nipa huts and cutting off heads and always want to show foreigners the modern Makati skyline instead of primitive art. They do not see it as art but as an embarrassing leftover of a horrible time. The all-pervasive influence of Catholicism is strongly against heathen images. It is much more socially accepted to collect ivory religious statues with gold embroidered robes. The very real belief and fear of ghosts, evil spirits and the supernatural do not help. All sorts of misfortune and accidents are blamed on the presence  of such sculptures in the home. Also, jaded attitudes of «if you've seen one bulul, you've seen them all» are common. The proliferation of fakes does not help the matter. On the other hand, actual owners of bulul are often very attached to them. They would never dream of lending them to a strange photographer or curator: "The statue must not be moved from its place." I am afraid it will have to be a foreigner - even a foreign museum - to organize such a book! 


May 2003:

Hathaway books in Santa Fe recently sold their signed copy of Mable Cook Cole's book "Savage Gentlemen (1929), with an inscription to Dorothy and Fred Eggan. Ms. Cook was the wife of noted American anthropologist Fay Cooper-Cole, who founded the department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago, and conducted field studies in Abra for the Field Museum of Natural History. Fred Eggan taught at the University of the Philippines, and chaired the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Dorothy was his first wife.


April 2003:

A signed copy of the book "Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History" by the late historian William Henry Scott was recently sold by Alibris. The book was signed for Cristoph von Fürer-Haimendorf, the well known anthropologist who wrote monographs on several "Indian" tribes, such as the Apa Tanis, Maria, Muria, and Konyak Nagas. Perhaps his most well known book is "The Naked Nagas". A year after the Scott book was issued, von Fürer-Haimendorf published an article about the Philippines in The Geographical magazine (London) titled "Tribal Traditions in a Civilized World". In the Igorot Studies Library at St. Andrew's Seminary in Quezon City there is a reprint of this article with a handwritten acknowledgement stating: "With best wishes and cordial thanks for much invaluable help", signed Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf

William Henry Scott was one of the most prolific writers on the subject of the Cordillera, his long place of residence. With books such as "The Discovery of the Igorots" he helped enhance the understanding of these ethnic minorities' struggle for self determination. Among his other achievements was the creation of The Igorot Studies Library.


March 2003:

FILM ABOUT WILLIAM JONES IN THE MAKING

Started in 1995, "Headhunting William Jones", a 58-minute video documentary by Collis H. Davis, Jr., is about the Native American ethnologist (1871-1909) to the Philippines (1907-09).

Headhunting William Jones explores themes of the assimilated Native American, the ethnologist as American patriot, and the scientist as Puritan. According to Davis, "Headhunting William Jones is important to the field of Philippine-American history as William Jones can be regarded as a prism-like figure through which the complex motives of 20th century American Expansionism can be seen. In terms of biography, while William Jones's stellar success in educational achievement was touted as an affirmation of the U.S.'s Federal Indian educational policy, his failure to distinguish between his highly judgmental moral views of his Ilongot hosts and that of purely scientific observation as an ethnologist reveal character flaws in the scientist that eventually cost him his life."

The documentary has drawn upon Jones's field diaries, the biography, "William Jones: Indian, Cowboy, American Scholar, and Anthropologist in the Field", (Rideout 1912) by Henry M. Rideout and numerous correspondence. In many respects, the documentary draws many parallels to Joseph Conrad's turn-of-the-century obscurantist novel, "Heart of Darkness", as it takes the audience back in time via an airborne journey up the Philippine's Cagayan river in northern Luzon, and intercut with flashbacks in the chronology.

Although the production has been making slow but steady progress, much remains to be done on the documentary. Although the filmmaker resides in the Philippines, Davis indicates that his next several trips back to the U.S. will afford him an opportunity to photograph sites in the American Midwest where Jones grew up and later conducted research in Algonquin Indian languages and folklore, including several more interviews which are intended to cover Jones's years at Hampton Institute and later as an ethnologist in American Indian cultures.

Thus far, any photographs of William Jones in the field in the Philippines have eluded Davis's research efforts. Presently, he is focusing on locating descendants of Romano Dumaliang who worked with William Jones until the day Jones died of wounds inflicted by three Ilongot warriors in defense of their chieftain. Correspondence suggests that Romano was given some pictures of Jones plus his watch. Davis admits that such a search is an "extreme long shot in terms of striking any pay dirt some 94 years later." Davis is also looking into the Otley Beyer collection in its new home at the National Library of Australia since Jones and Beyer were active in Northern Luzon at the same time.

Davis expects that Headhunting William Jones will be completed by the end of 2004. He expects to get the work broadcast in the Philippines, on the U.S. public television system and in individual European broadcast markets. He also will release a DVD Video as a supplement to the linear broadcast product. The DVD will feature the full-length work, plus additional material not used in the documentary proper.


February 2003:

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID BARADAS

The well known anthropologist Dave Baradas has been instrumental both in the Philippines and internationally within museum work, and he is one of the strong forces today involved in lifting the awareness of Philippine culture. ALTACO met with him recently at his home in Baguio.

ALTACO: There has been a lot of talk about setting up museums within indigenous settings in relatively remote locations, such as Lubuagan, so that ethnic minorities may benefit. Is this a sound concept?

Baradas: Yes, there is an urgent need for museums in the vicinity of a rich tribal area - first to remind them of vanishing forms as well as to serve as a reference point in the revival of same.

ALTACO: You spend a lot of your time abroad working on museum projects in countries such as France, USA and India. When you are in the Philippines, you are back and forth between Manila and Baguio. Now you are considering setting up in Sagada. Does this mean things are going to happen in Sagada?

Baradas: The Sagada effort is just to assist a friend who is setting up a small resort - an oasis of sorts in the midst of a pine forest. Hopefully it would become more than just a resort with strong cultural and environmental concerns.

ALTACO: In its present situation, it is difficult for the Philippine government to fund museum projects. Is enough done within tribal art by the private sector to alleviate the situation?

Baradas: This is an area that has always been fraught with difficulties. Since l998 the private sector has significantly assisted the National Museum. There is plenty of room for the private sector to get involved in, but first a realization has to take place that this field is a significant endeavor.

ALTACO: There is concern among some Filipinos that promotion of Philippine tribal art abroad generates an impression that the Philippines is a primitive country. Based on your extensive experience abroad, can you comment on this?

Baradas: This has no basis. All exhibitions I have done abroad have always been positively received. All has been fore worded with relevant info to put the featured items in its proper context relative to the larger and more dominant culture. The distinctiveness of Philippine culture only emerges when focusing on the indigenous traditions. Otherwise it comes on as rather bland.

ALTACO: Ethnic minorities have undergone extensive assimilation in the 20th century. What are some of the most important tasks that must be focused on in order to ensure that valuable knowledge is not lost forever due to this assimilation?

Baradas: Fine authentic pieces should be collected and should be made available to the public. It will provide creative inspiration not only for the inheritors of the traditions but others as well. Adaptive functional use will keep the tradition alive.

ALTACO: Anthropologists argue that "westernization" of tribal art is a natural phenomenon, and therefore is legitimate. Today's Ifugao carvers prefer to earn their living carving tourist objects that are far removed from traditional objects. Should anything be done to interfere with this?

Baradas: Culture as we all know is not static. We should never impose. We may consider suggesting things such as shifting medium say from wood to stone or clay to provide some guidelines for new efforts. But not to dictate. Stifling creativity is a crime to the human spirit.


January 2003:

Peter Francis Jr. passed away in December last year during a research trip in Ghana. Peter wrote "Ifugao Heirloom Beads", "The Kalinga" and "Bontoc Beads and Ornaments" published in Ornament, 17:1, 17:3 and 18:1. He was also the founder of the Center for Bead Research, and his website thebeadsite.com will no longer be in operation. The concept behind thebeadsite.com served as an inspiration for ALTACO.

 


January 2003:

MEYER AND SCHADENBERG PHOTOGRAPHS DISCOVERED IN AUSTRALIA

In 1891 Adolf Meyer and Alexander Schadenberg published their Album of Philippines Types - Northern Luzon. This book contains 50 pages of photographs taken in 1887; photographs that are now considered treasures in connection with Philippine ethno history. One can only speculate about what remains today of the original photographic material, and how much of it there once was.

Recently some original prints have been found in Australia. The discovery happened by pure chance when ALTACO, while assisting the National Library of Australia, came upon a photograph in their Otley Beyer Collection that was identical to a photograph in the Meyer Schadenberg book. This photograph is one in a set of which several appear never to have been published before.


December 2002:

Roland Go has sold the bulk of his textile collection to Nikki Coseteng. Included in the sale was one of his two 17th century Iloilo pinilian blankets. As the leading Cordillera textile dealer, Roland Go was particularly active in the Japanese market, and it is therefore with great satisfaction that this historic transaction involves another Philippine collector, so that these important textiles remain in the Philippines.


October 2002:

Musée du Quai Branly, planned to open in Paris 2005, has announced that it will include the major geographic area of Oceania, with meeting points between Asia-Oceania, Indonesia and the Philippines. Emphasis will be put on the long history of the cultures presented, on the diverse meanings of the objects displayed, and on a number of significant themes (for example costumes from Asia). The Philippine collection will include the famous Ifugao seated anthropomorphic figure holding a bowl (from the former William Beyer collection), and articles from the former Barbier-Mueller Cordillera adornment collection (all the pieces published in Susan Rogers' "Power and Gold" catalogue have been either sold or donated to the French government - the owner of the museum).


October 2002:

Gallery DEUS has done it again! In May an important very old Kalinga be-e was featured by ALTACO, and now a matching ka-in (skirt) has passed through the same gallery. 

The main difference between the two textiles is that the male artifact was 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 kain was used much more often. Although it is more common in modern times for women than for men to wear traditional attire in Kalinga, it is more plausible that the additional wear is due to the ka-in being worn continuously for protection against malevolent 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.

 One of the special features of the kain is the joins of the panels that are knotted together in traditional manner of fine Itneg/Gaddang/Kalinga textiles. Normally this knotting is executed in a characteristic two tone or three tone design, but in this case the knotting is in the same colour as the rest of the textile.

 


September 2002:

A most special and unusual literature treasure was recently auctioned on ebay by Borneobooks of California, USA, namely "The Philippines Past and Present" by D. C. Worcester. In itself this item is not anything that would cause a stir in the market, however, what made the two volume set noticeable was that the inner page was signed by D. C. Worcester himself. Even though this is interesting, what really rose eyebrows was that the set was a gift from Worcester to Charles Martin, the renown photographer who's works appear scattered throughout Cordillera literature in connection with the American era. Although the material produced by the Worcester-Martin team has been criticized for being protective of colonial interests, it remains one of the single most important sources of Cordillera historical documentation. A CDROM about the subject has been published by the University of Michigan.

Other copies signed by Mr. Worcester were given to former colonial administrators in the Cordillera, such as Lt. Gov. W. E. Dosser and Lt. Gov. Jeff D. Gallman.


July 2002:

Nayong Pilipino, which housed one of the most important Northern Luzon tribal art collections,  has recently been closed down to make way for the construction of the new airport terminal. While not an exact replication, the Department of Tourism shall showcase the best of each Philippine region throughout 2003, which is "Visit Philippines" Year. 

 


June 2002:

Pananaw 4 was launched on June 22, at the re-opened Surrounded by Water Gallery, #70 18th St., Cubao, Q.C. It is the millennium issue of this continuing series published by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Committees on Visual Arts and Art Galleries. Petty Benitez-Johannot has contributed with an article for the issue.


May 2002:

An important be-e (loincloth) was sold by Gallery DEUS to a private collector this month. The textile 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 sacrifices of pigs by an upper class Tinglayan tribe man. A matching ka-in (skirt) 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 burial cloths. The width of the textile is 19cm.

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

The ends have nine and seven rows of triple 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. 

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


Feb, 2002:

Former Philippine Senator Nikki Coseteng is touring the US to introduce and promote the book Sinaunang Habi, Philippine Ancestral Weave, written by Marian Pastor Roces and published by Ms. Coseteng.