Arts and Culture
Among the Igorots, the ethno-linguistic groups in North Luzon Philippines, textiles played a very important role. Each of the different indigenous communities in the region possesses a unique weaving technique, with the resulting forms and patterns dictated by distinct religious, socio-political and artistic origins, functions and values. The Cordillera weaving tradition occupies a niche, one that is both cultural and functional, featuring the artistry of indigenous weavers in the region. However, much of these century-old textiles are no longer woven today, due to the decline of the significance and use, the shift to synthetic materials, and more importantly the loss of the traditional artisans.
At the turn of the century, much of the traditional textiles were collected by missionaries, and travellers, who documented the life-ways of the indigenous peoples and deposited all these information and material objects in museums in the US and Europe. They left information that is vital for modern researchers in understanding the techniques, technology, and patterns of traditional weaving. Through in-depth research on archival documents, historical photographs, digital repatriation and replication of textiles, the links in the chain from the past to present are recreated. Through replication of textiles that were originally sourced by early travellers, the local knowledge and new information elicited gave a new reference with which to engender the Igorot identity, and led to the revival of interest on textiles that still holds practical use and symbolic nature.