Enquiry about object: 6172

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Philippines Gaddang Beaded Comb

Gaddang People, Northern Luzon, Philippines
late 19th-early 20th century

width of comb: 14.8cm, length of tassels: 30cm, weight: 71g



UK art market

This fine wooden D-shaped comb is from the Gaddang people of northern Luzon. It is decorated across the front and top with small glass trade beads in multiple colours, and segments of foil-backed glass, all embedded in resin. Six long beaded tassels of equal length are suspended from the side of the comb.

The Gaddang people traditionally had a strong preference for decorating their jewellery and their clothing with small glass trade beads which were used in vast quantities. Their costumes  typically were well-woven and colourful.

The Gaddang people were involved in headhunting at least until the 1940s. The Gaddang population today is around 30,000-40,000.

A related example, but without the long beaded tassels, is illustrated in van Cutsem (2005, p,. 192).

The comb here is in fine condition. There are some minor beaded losses. Overall, it is a highly decorative example.


Afable, P., et al, Philippines: an Archipelago of Exchange, ACTES SUD/ Musee du Quai Branly, 2013.

van Cutsem, A., A World of Head Ornaments: Africa, Asia Oceania, America, Skira, 2005.

Moltzau Anderson, E., ‘Cordillera draping: Textiles of Northern Luzon, The Philippines’, in

Arts of Asia, January-February 2014.

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