Akusan Bontoc Women's Belt

A Bontoc woman’s belt, called an akusan, consisting of a handwoven band of indigo dyed linen cloth strung with giant conus shells, small gastropod shells and six pieces of human thigh bone.  The centre pouch contains a conus shell but was once used to store small valuables and magic substances such as the dried umbilical cord of the owner's firstborn child and fetish objects important to the owner. 

The presence of human bone indicates the high status of the wearer, most likely the wife (or descendant of) of a head taking warrior or a village chieftain.

Early 20th century or older (although the cloth was probably replaced during the mid 20th century), from the Bontoc people, north island of the Philippines. Longer versions of these belts were also worn by shamen as bandoliers.

Measurements: Total length 91 cm, length of longest conus 6.5 cm

Join our Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list