20 jul 2011

Tankil tusk armband from the Philippines

Tankil boar tusks armband from Philippines
Name: Tankil armband 
Origin: Luzón Island, Philippines (Kankanay ethnic group) 
Museum: Museo Nacional de Antropología, Madrid (Spain) 
Material: wood, hair, boar’s tusks, bamboo
Dimensions: height=13 cm, diameter=10 cm
Reference code:  CE1285
Age: 19th century
Boar's tusk bracelet used by men in the ceremonies of cutting heads, decorated with tufts of hair cut from a severed head. It was a traditional Filipino personal adornment common to various ethnic groups within the islands, worn as a symbol of status and social prestige.
Cutting heads was one of the most significant hallmarks of the groups in the Cordillera of Luzón (Philippines), whose importance in the past is reflected in their mythology. It was an essential part of religious ceremonies, but most importantly, it was the way to obtain power and prestige within the community, as well as to avenge the insults suffered by any member of it. The continuation of this practice was due to the belief that a human head was the most valuable gift that could be done to the ancestors, as this would ensure a bountiful harvest and fertility of domestic animals.
The heads were taken from the enemies, and were placed in posts in the center of the villages where a ceremony was held with special dances. Boar tusks bracelets, called tankil were used only by men in these ceremonies.

© Photos and text: Museo Nacional de Antropología, Madrid (Spain)

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