Woman's tube skirt
early 20th century
banana fibre [abaca], natural dyes
193.0 (h) x 79.5 (w) cm
Peabody-Barker Collection, Fowler Museum at University of California, Los Angeles
Gift of Ventura County Museum of History and Art
Photograph: Don Cole
In Southeast Asia, female and male clothing is typically woven on the same looms and decorated using the same techniques. The forms of the garments, however, are different. Women often wear tubular skirts made by stitching together narrow lengths of cloth. Created and worn by a bagobo woman of Mindanao, the central ine [mother] section of this three-panel abaca fibre skirt features an extraordinarily intricate warp ikat design that incorporates anthropomorphic figures. In historical times, Bagobo men have worn short abaca trousers.
Throughout Bagobo communities, weaving skills are highly revered, and the primary means by which women gain power and status. This unusually fine and large skirt probably also functioned as a valuable item in bridewealth exchanges during marriage negotiations.