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Southeast Asian Bead Circle Newsletter Vol. 1, No.2

Beaded Dresses and Ornaments of T'boli Women of Mindanao, the Philippines

by Bucklee Bell


In August 1997 I visited the Lake Sebu region, the ancestral home of the T'boli people in Mindanao. Sadly on a visit to the Saturday Market I found only one woman wearing the complete T'boli woman's costume Her name is Ida Mann (right).

The homes of her family are only
100 meters from the market in the forest above the lake. Her son, Ramon Mann (left), and other family members became the source of much of the information for this article.

The most striking thing to me at first is the women's umbrella-style hat, the sluong knibang [Casal 1977: 730 calls this a "wedding hat"]. It is made of a bamboo frame with appliqued cotton cloth stretched across it and a beaded fringe hanging from the brim. There can also be a beaded chin band (right) and beaded horsehair tassels hanging from the sides.

According to Ramon Mann, "Its a shade hat for wearing at festivals. The cloth can be made in different designs but always in the traditional T'boli colors of red, white and black." This seems to be true of other southern Mindanao tribes as noted by Reyes (1992: 144), "among the Bagobo, Mandaya and Bilaan, the colors black, white and red predominate in their textile art."

Foreword by Pete Francis


The Lieg Heirloom Necklace

Brass and Wooden Ornaments

T'boli Beadwork

Beaded Ornaments



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