Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1588 Tagalog maharlika
Subject: maharlika / maginoo warrior
Culture: Tagalog
Setting: southwestern Luzon 16thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Junker 1999 p126
"As emphasized by Scott, the datu and this second tier of frequently (though not always) genealogically close elite were sharply separated from the remaining population by their largely nonproductive role in the subsistence economy.  In the case of the Tagalog maginoo and maharlika, Plasencia suggests that individuals of this rank were generally not required to pay agricultural tribute, but rather controlled their own commoner dependents or slave force to work their land for their own sustenance.  'Maginoo' appears to refer to a general aristocracy or upper class that encompasses both the hereditary datus and their male and female kinsmen.  The Tagalog maharlika are described by Plasencia as primarily functioning in a military capacity, accompanying datus on raiding adn trading expeditionn and sharing in the wealth to be gained from such activities.  However, the word 'maharlika' is probably derived from the Sanskrit 'maharddhika,' meaning 'a man of wealth, wisdom, or competence.'  The term appears as early as the seventh century in Srivijaya to denote a chief or other powerful individual who controlled slaves or bondsmen, and in precolonial Java it referred particularly to religious specialists who were elite advisors to the kings and exempt from tribute.  Scott has suggested that maharlika are primarily high-status warriors, 'a sort of diluted maginoo blood' resulting from secondary marriages of local elites with nonlocal elites of lower rank.  However, the association of this term with ritual specialists in precolonial Java and with generalized leadership in Srivijaya indicates the possibility that 'maharlika' refers to a broader range of second-tier administrators performing important military, ritual, and possibly economic functions for a higher-ranking datu.  While membership in the maginoo class of nobility appears to occur primarily through inheritance, Spanish sources are ambiguous about the origins of maharlika status. Analogies to militarily and ritually proficient 'men of renown' in ethnographically known Philippine chiefdoms such as the Bagobo and Bukidnon suggest that these high-status positions were not inherited, but may have been largely acquired through successful performance."  [references omitted]