University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Women’s Blouse [Object of the Day #104]


November 9, 2012


This colorful blouse is part of a traditional women’s costume in the province of Bukidnon in  northern Mindanao (Philippine Islands).  It is made up of strips of dark blue and red cotton cloth, with appliqued and embroidered zigzag and chain designs in red, blue and white. It slips over the head, and is very short, exposing the midriff.  In the past, women’s midriffs were tattooed with geometric patterns similar to those on the blouses.  Today, these blouses are still made. They are a source of pride for the women who master the skills to create them, and are worn as symbols of ethnic identity.  This particular blouse was exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904 and came to the Penn Museum through the Philadelphia Commercial Museum (later known as the Civic Center Museum).

Penn Museum Object #2003-31-31

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