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Jacket

c. 1925–1935

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art

On the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, the two fibers used for weaving are cotton, which is usually imported either as yarn or commercially woven cloth, and the more traditional abaca, which is obtained from the bark of the wild banana tree. Although long and silky, abaca fibers cannot be twisted (spun), and individual filaments must be knotted together to produce the continuous strand required for weaving. The woven cloth is not as soft as cotton, but it has a beautiful luster that results from treating it with dry ashes and rubbing it with a piece of shell. The finest abaca textiles usually have ikat designs (patterns created by tying and dying the plant fibers before they were woven) and are further enhanced by surface embroidery and the application of small shell discs or beads.

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