Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1891 Ilongot capanouan
Subjectcapanouan chief
Culture: Ilongot
Setting: late Spanish colonial period, late 19th-early 20thc

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

* Salgado 1994 p55-57
"Though egalitarian, the Ilongots had leaders.
"During Spanish times Ramon Jordana Morera noted Ilongots had leaders chosen generally from the older people.  These leaders preserved the traditions of the race, adjudicated problems that arose in the tribe, and punished the guilty.
​    "Said Ramon Jornada Morera:
'Every village has a leader from among its most distinguished individuals, who settles problems that arise, at times punishing with a cane.  His authority, however, is not always respected, many times his commands are not obeyed, with the individuals resorting to the right of the more powerful in legitimizing their actions and in resolving their differences.  The paternal authority of the old is the most respected, but these are the first ones who strive to preserve inviolate the traditional customs, thus keeping the tribe in the most abject state of barbarism.'
​    "During American times Ilongots also had leaders.
​    "Lt. Wilfrid Turnbull, the American officer in charge of the conquest of the Ilongots in early American times, spoke of chiefs among Ilongots, called by the indigenous term capanouan.
​    "Said Turnbull:
'The capanouan or chief of the best-famed and richest community visited, a man about thirty years of age, was known and looked up to throughout the entire country, he having taken forty-two heads.'
​    "Similarly L. E. Bennet, then American Governor of Nueva Vizcaya, stated that the Ilongots had leaders, based on bravery and property.  The more propertied Ilongot generally became the leader.  But Bennet noted that the more propertied was also as a rule the bravest.
'By a mutual consent of a majority of the inhabitants one person is selected as chief or captain of the settlement.  He is generally the largest property owner of the settlement, but may also have been selected because he is considered the bravest man.  Generally the bravest member of the settlement is also the largest property holder.'"


* Harrold/Legg 1978 p179
"The mountain tribesmen wear only a loincloth woven in horizontal stripes.  The Ilongots have a plain dark-blue or black cloth, with a coloured band wound around the hips.  A long red or black band is tied around the head and no shoes are worn."

* Salgado 1994 p46-47
"The Ilongot men wore G-strings ....
​    "The Spaniards could not understand why Ilongots wore G-strings.  For them G-strings were signs of primitive savagery.
"Actually G-strings are the best possible clothes to wear in a land of forests.  Try walking fully clothed in a forest.  The thickets and the bushes catch the clothes; the leeches go inside, which make the leeches extremely difficult to remove; the rains soak the clothes, leaving the person wet and liable to sicknesses like pneumonia.
​    "Laurence L. Wilson, who lived in Ilongot country for some time in the 1940s, commented thus of the Ilongot G-string:
'They contrived a G-string (or breechcloth) while the Persians invented pants.  Personally, I prefer the G-string, particularly in following the narrow Ilongot trails up the steep mountains where one often  has only a toe-hold.'
​    "The Ilongot men had long hair, just like the women, which the former tied together with a piece of cloth on the crown of the head.  Both the men and the women were fond of adornments of various kinds.
​    "Toward the last fifty years or so of Spanish rule, some moneyed Ilongot men started to wear pants, shirts and salakots ....
​    "Many more Ilongot would have worn the Western clothes, observed the Spanish historian Morera, were it not for the prohibitive prices Christian businessmen charged for the articles.
​    "Said Morera on the Ilongots' clothes during the last decades of Spanish rule:
'The Ilongot men 'do not use any clothes, except for a very tight piece of cloth which they place between the legs, fixed from behind and in front to a cord or wire carried around the waist.  Some of the more wealthy usually have some pants, shirt and salakot, which they acquire from the Christians at the cost of many thousand leaves of tobacco.' ..."

* Demetrio 1991 v2 p200 (citing Wilson 1967 p4)
"The men wear a string called cagit made of rattan or brass wire and wrapped five or more times around the waist.  A piece of bark cloth called gabad is passed between the legs and is secured in front and back to the string belt.  A neat bag for betel nut, lime, flint and tinder, and other small articles is also carried.  The young wear a leg band called bosiet."


* Demetrio 1991 v2 p583
"The Ilongot weapons are: barbed spear, gayang, bow and arrow, and a large, blunt, wide bladed ilayao which is called a sinamongan.  An ilayao is a long knife with a curved cutting edge.  The Ilongot never go unarmed.  The warrior carries a wooden rectangular shield with its long edges scalloped and a round boss." [reference omitted]