Monday, August 25, 2008

Filipino Costumes

Male Filipino Costume

Un Yndio Natural

female Philippines costume

Una Joven, Mestiza

male guard uniform - the Philippines

A guardia de Vino
(an officer to look after the government monopolies, such as arrack and tobacco)

female Filipino costume with veil

A Damsel Going to Early Mass

male costume from Manilla

A Manila man

female attire from the Philippines

Una Yndia Natural, de Filipina

male wearing Philippines national costume: Barong Tagalog

Un Mestizo Chino

female costume Philippines

A señorita walking to church in the daytime

national costumes of the Philippines

A Spanish Mestiza of Manila

Filipino female costume

A country girl

Filipino costume - old woman

An Old Woman

Rich mestizo wearing Barong Tagalog

Rich mestizo

traditional costume of a Mandaya Woman

A Mandaya Woman

"Note the silver "patina" on her breast, and the load of armlets. The Mandaya women blacken their front teeth by holding a quid of tobacco and strongly acidic leaves between teeth and lips."
[IN: 'The non-Christian peoples of the Philippine Islands' by DC Worcester, 1913, among the Cornell University South East Asia Visions Collection]

engraving of Filipino costumes
Costumes des Habitans de Manille

[IN: 'Atlas du Voyage de la Perouse, no. 42', 1797 by Jean-Francois de Galaup, Comte de La Perouse. Drawing by JM Moreau; engraved by P Triere. [source]

All the images above (apart from the last two) come from a watercolour album from about 1841, online at NYPL. (there are a few more there I've not posted) The first half of the pictures above are displayed at full size. All of the NYPL images have been extensively background cleaned.

Incidentally, a few of the men are wearing the national male costume of the Philippines: Barong Tagalog (the female counterpart is called Baro't saya {Barbie or anime(!)})

Further Filipino costume illustrations: Skyscraper city forum and The Impact of Spanish Rule in the Philippines from the Tagalog language and cultural resources site at the University of Northern Illinois.

It's obviously an old site, but the People of the Philippines exhibition from the Museum of Anthropology at the California State University, East Bay, has some useful information, particularly about the distribution of ethnic groups across the Philippines.

I added costumes to the delicious tags recently.

Added later: See this article on the Boxer Codex (1595) that is said to depict the Tagalogs, Visayans, Zambals, Cagayanons and Negritos of the Philippines in vivid colors.


Unknown said...

Beautiful - I love the top hat/lace shirt/stripy trousers combination in particular

ZenCrafter said...

What an amazingly rich blending of Asian and European!

ellyy said...

I'm going there this year for a family reunion. :)

They are so much fun to look at... but not as much fun to wear (super itchy on a humid day).

And I love the fact that the men still wear Barongs. They may look a little effeminate to some but I think the men look pretty dashing in them!

Island Bookworm said...

I love the damsel going to Mass and the cigar-smoking old woman. It's like two ends of the same life, from meek idealism to I'm-old-and-I'll-do-what-I-want! :D

Harrza said...

thanks for those pic

Karla said...

The attractions of ethnographic costume illustration are augmented in a perverse way by the artist's determination to specify people's ethnic designation, reminding me a bit of some Mexican casta paintings I was looking at recently which really go all out to define percentages of this and that heritage.

The link to the Barbies in traditional Filipina wear was highly entertaining.

peacay said...

..augmented in a perverse way..

Huh? I thought the perversity - *if* there is any - was in (what I assume to be) the way the artist manages to give most of the subjects Hispanic features. In other words, I suspect that this was a bit of illustrative ethnic cleansing. [I should say that I'm just not sufficiently familiar with ethnic types of pre-1850 Philippines to be conclusive on this point; nor am I aware to what extent the ethnic groups had by then become 'mixed blood'] But it does look like there's a fair slice of artistic license here.

Karla said...

Well, I'm no expert on the ethnic varieties of the Philippines, but if nothing else there would be the "original" inhabitants, those of Chinese heritage, and those of Spanish heritage, and whatever mixes had occurred.

I was going by terms like Yndio, Mestiza/Mestizo, Mestizo Chino (I'm assuming that's half Chinese), and Spanish Mestiza. The Mexican casta paintings have a whole lot of variations besides Mestizo/Mestiza.

I agree that there is probably some attempt to Europeanize some of the features, but given that the Filipinos I've met had rather varied ancestry (and sometimes will mention that a relative has very Chinese features or something), I really can't say what Filipinos looked like in 1840. Probably someone more knowledgeable than I should speak up on the ethnic mix here.

Rockbdn said...

Señorita means Miss

macoy said...

story goes, the native barong tagalog was meant to be semitransparent so the spanish authorities could easily spot weapons hidden under them. why they're still semitransparent to this day--beats me.

in high school we got a substitute teacher who didn't wear an undershirt beneath his barong. i don't remember the lesson but i'll never forget his huge dark nipples.

can i say nipples on this blog?

peacay said...

I haven't been to the Philippines but I've spent enough time in tropical parts of Asia to know that I wouldn't wear an undershirt either. I'm undecided about a gun.

-can i say nipples on this blog?-

I might raise an eyebrow if that was all you said. We cannot deny the world another nipplistic moment.

Oklungz said...

The Barong Tagalog are still worn today by men for special occasions like weddings, etc., sometimes offices will also use them as uniforms, but the material will be less "spiffy" and not-so-complicated embroidery on the chest (and the material may be thicker since offices are air-conditioned, etc.)

Sad to say though, the baro at saya and terno are not as common for filipinas to wear in special events... I myself am Filipina and have yet to wear a baro't saya or terno in my entire life... while my dad, uncles, grandpa, male cousins have worn barongs tons of times! :(

Karla said...

Update: This evening I was chatting with an ethnomusicologist whose parents grew up in the Philippines, so I inquired whether he could shed any light on the ethnic distinctions here and whether these might have been done with an intent similar to the Mexican casta paintings. He said there was definitely the same kind of hierarchical classification in the Philippines, and that as one might expect, the "best" thing was to be all or mostly Spanish. We didn't talk about this at great length so I don't know how recently these distinctions were emphasized or whether they were more significant in particular places, such as urban areas.

As for casta paintings, last month I discovered there's a whole book on them. I refrained from buying it, but I do want to read it one of these days.

Queen Sarah said...

very great costumes but they are not existing anymore. how I wish that those old style of dressing will be seen to the generation now.

Queen Sarah said...

do you have any idea about the filipino costumes during the pre colonial era

bitterpearl said...

I appreciate how people from other countries admire our traditional costumes. The barong is still alive thanks to our late Pres. Magsaysay who encouraged Filipinos to wear them to formal events. As for the baro't saya, we girls only wear them during fiestas, field demos in school (esp. Araw ng Wika, or Filipino Language Day), or the occasional office theme party. I graduated wearing a white baro't saya with a sablay over it, and I felt so proud, not to mention cooler, since I don't have to wear a stuffy toga.
I think it's no thanks to those young, rich local celebrities that the baro't saya isn't worn on normal days anymore- they ALWAYS think they have Spanish or American blood in them and snub the baro't saya in favor of "classier" Chanel & Valentino couture. The only rich celebrity I know who still dons Filipiniana costume is Imelda Marcos!

Anonymous said...

Queen Sarah:

I don't think there is such thing as a "pre-Colonial Filipino costume."

That's because there was no such thing as "Filipino" or "Philippines" before the Spaniards came and colonized.

The Philippine archipelago was made up of tiny island micro-kingdoms ruled by tribes.

As a result, each island in Philippines had different variations of clothing because they were each different tribes.

The "Tribes of Cebu" wore loin-clothes and were covered in tattoo, practiced Animism and had knowledge of Buddhism.

The "Tagalog Tribes" would have worn Malay/Islamic clothing and probably practiced Islam and Animism.

I can go on forever.

It was only during the Spanish colonial period that a standard set of clothing was worn by Filipinos under the Spanish regime.

Thus, our national costume is derived from the Spanish colonial period because it was really when "Filipino" culture started to form consisting of different indigenous tribes, Chinese, and Spanish.

eeeyuhn said...

i would like to ask what title of the book where the traditional costume paintings came from?

peacay said...

chappyness, all of the images (except the last 2) come from a hand-produced manuscript that has no title. If you read through the information at the end of the post, there's a link to the album at the New York Public Library (where it says 'NYPL'). I hope that helps.

Unknown said...

Happy to see this little corner of reference still intact despite nearing a decade of publication. Some really good things disappear off the internet after just 5 years, which is ironic considering its a platform that's seemingly immortal.

The first drawing has me chuckling. Artistic license or not, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine a small Filipino man drowning in his European-stylized clothes. Buying the wrong size suit is a rather consistent dilemma through the years, which is amusing.

The hats are fabulous things, even if they are silly in contemporary times. I would wear them out if I had the chance, judgement be damned. Considering how much hotter it is these days, it would be practical to forgo an undershirt in a barong (free the nipple! haha)

I'm surprised that even the Philippines had instances of teeth blackening. I see now that it's a rather Asian beauty standard, since other countries such as Vietnam and most notably Japan practiced it.

These were cleaned beatifully, so props to whoever managed that. Thanks to the blogger as well for sharing, you do a great service for the curious passerby to the extensive researcher.

peacay said...

Thanks for the kind words Nikki.

Too Young To Feel This Old said...

Kinda late, but those pictures are by Damian Domingo, one of the leading painters in early 1800's. Those are his water colors (obviously did many oil as well). In early 1800's Filipino artists started being more interested in water colors with themes showing off different ethnic and modes of life esp. their costumes (albeit prior to that, there were actually much depiction of Filipino costumes by other explorers and artists that passed by the region ie mostly French eg like show in this post, but also British, German etc). It's called "tipos del pais" ('types of people/nations'. Prior to that (essentially after Spain lost most of American colonies and opening of Philippines to trade) in the early 1800's, vast majority of Philippine arts are baroque-ish religious themed subjects. If y'all want to check more of it, his pupil Justiniano Asuncion (also a painter who did many, imho better, watercolors also showing Filipino costumes). Less quality (imho) but also interesting (and typically much more popularly known) are watercolors of another contemporary (but published latter by decades) Jose Honorato Lozano (that popularized Letras Y Figuras/Letters and Figures style, a type of watercolor art that is almost a font---just Google it because it's hard to explain LOL). I have a Pinterest album on it if y'all interested. Salamat.

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