Tribal Bod Mod
Old Akosan, Heirloom Belt, Bontoc People, Luzon, Philippines
Regular price $700.00
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Vintage from the 1920s
Found in both the Bontoc and Tinguian people of Luzon, Philippines, this artifact was worn on the waist. It was made up of a long piece of fabric, usually of very coarse raw cotton, sewn together at the sides with a space in the middle to hold jewelry which were part of the akon. Akon are family heirlooms such as inherited earrings and beads that should not be sold and must always be kept in a safe place such as the akkos. Both ends of the cloth were passed through several medium sized cone shells. (Conus Litteratus). The shells and hardwood or buffalo rings served as the lock because they had to be removed before the jewelry could be taken out. The heirloom girdle was worn around the waist above the wrap-around skirt or tapis by older women. In certain villages, the akosan was worn beneath the skirt, producing a bustle effect. This akosan is an exemplar of the genre, with jumbo sized conus shells, horn and hardwood rings, and a classic, very soiled from years of use, hand woven sash with red and indigo geometric designs. One large shell has been broken and mended with rattan lashing. In the old days, when a special heirloom object was broken, rather than discarding it, it was often mended in order to sustain the talismanic continuity of the piece. 'Perfection' in truly old pieces is not the norm and must not be the ultimate in valuation. The deep patina, flaws from years of use, and even the odor speak to the story of a precious tribal artifact from a small group of people in the remote upper valleys of Luzon. If you have one akosan in your collection of Philippine tribal adornment, this one deserves your consideration.