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Central panel of a blanket (kumo)

Central panel of a blanket (kumo), approx. 1950. Philippines, Mindanao. Abaca. Gift of Jack and Milka Wigfield, F2009.31.1. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Central panel of a blanket (kumo), approx. 1950. Philippines, Mindanao. Abaca. Gift of Jack and Milka Wigfield, F2009.31.1. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

The master weavers of the T’boli people are known as “dreamweavers.” It is said that the goddess of the abaca (a type of plant fiber) comes to the weaver in her dreams and leads her to envision patterns. The production of a cloth such as this one is a difficult and time-consuming task, from the harvesting of fibers, to the tying of the ikat patterns, to the weaving of the cloth. Few communities still weave in this traditional manner, but the T’boli have made a concerted effort to continue the practice. Large bolts of cloth like this were exchanged at marriage, indicating the skills of the young bride and necessitating a high dowry from the groom’s family.

 

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