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Exhibit highlights ritual and tradition in Philippine indigenous textiles

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The exhibit, “Art and the Order of Nature in Philippine Indigenous Textiles,” at the Ayala Museum presents meanings of the geometric patterns found in select textiles from chosen indigenous groups in the Philippines.

Curated by Dr. Patricia Araneta of The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London, this exhibition is part of the indigenous Philippine textiles collection donated by Mercedes Zobel to Ayala Museum.

These textiles were woven through weaving traditions passed on from generation to generation. A back-strap loom loaned from lawyer Jose Arturo Tugade and Charisse Aquino-Tugade illustrate how portable this loom could be. Setup was done easily done when moving from place to place. One of the oldest weaving technologies, this was also called a body tension loom as it is suspended by an elevated beam, such as a tree, and the weaver’s body hung from their back. The threads are organized by rods, which come in two forms — the laze rods, narrow and alternated to lift the even and odd threads, and the coil rod that has the thread wrapped around. The beams and rods usually stay where they are. The heddle is a part that holds the threads in place and moved to create the patterns. The complexity of weaving depends upon the number of heddles used.

LAM-MA is a blouse made of cotton worn by women in Kalinga. NEAL OSHIMA

Textiles belonging to indigenous communities from the Cordilleras in northern Philippines such as Bontoc, Gaddang, Isneg, Bugkalot, and the southern cultural groups in Mindanao that include Bagobo, Maguindanao, Blaan and Meranaw are equally represented in the exhibition.
“Art and the Order of Nature in Philippine Indigenous Textiles” can be viewed at the Fourth Floor Galleries of the Ayala Museum. An exhibit catalogue is available at the shop.

The Ayala Museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 759-8288 or email hello@ayalamuseum.org.

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