traded to Ifugao people, Luzon, Philippines
Ceremonial textile and shroud
19th-early 20th century
257.0 (h) x 156.0 (w) cm
KIT Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam
In recent centuries, costly and prestigious warp ikat textiles were woven by the Isinai people and traded to the Ifugao for use at funerals and as shrouds. While warp ikat was made in the past by Ifugao women, by the 20th century it was no longer used to create the culture’s most important ritual textile, the shroud in which the deceased is wrapped for the journey into the afterlife. The oldest known burial cloth, found on the island of Banton, features ikat designs, archaeological evidence that textiles decorated in the resist technique have long been used to wrap the dead in the Philippines.
The bold white hook-shaped motifs in the central field have been likened to anthropomorphic figures. Given that this textile type was used in funerary rites, these highly stylised forms possibly represent ancestors.