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Rare Pineapple Fibre Cloth (Pina) Head Covering
Spanish Colonial Philippines
19th century

length: 101cm, height: 49cm

This fine triangular shawl (panuelo) which also could be worn as a headcloth is made of embroidered pina or pineapple fibre. It has scalloped edging and is
embroidered with flowers and leafy sprays in a difficult and painstaking technique known as
sombrado or shadow-stitch work whereby fine
designs are executed in
pina lace and then attached to the broader shawl using embroidery stitch.

The shawl would have been worn by an aristocratic Philippines' lady around the shoulders or over the head, particularly in church.

It was collected in the Philippines around 1920 and ins in perfect condition.
Pina cloth was the essence item of luxury and elegance in nineteenth-century
Philippines. It is a unique fabric woven from fibres of the leaves of the Spanish Red or Native Philippine Red Pineapple (actually indigenous to South
America)and is the finest of all Philippine fabrics. Indeed, the cloth here has an airiness and a lightness that makes it lighter than silk.
Pina was an expensive
textile to produce. The process of extracting the pineapple plant fibres was laborious as was the knotting and weaving. As such it was worn by the wealthy
mestiza and aristocratic only.

The shawl is in excellent condition.

References:
Montinola, L.R., Pina, AMON Foundation, 1991.

Provenance:
private collection; believed to have been collected by a family members from the Philippines around 1920.

Inventory no.: 4522

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Two Philippines' ladies wearing pina cloths about their shoulders, 19th century.