This cotton textile is made of four handwoven strips joined by yellow, black, and red embroidery; the ends are decorated with band and yellow tassels. 67” long x 48” wide. From Northern Luzon, the Philippines. Owen A Tomlinson Collection, UMMAA 2002-3-24.

This summer, the Museum continues to settle into its new collections facility at the Research Museums Center. Among our tasks is the job of rehousing more than 4000 textiles: moving them from boxes to archival cabinets and rolled storage.  Each week, collection managers Lauren Fuka and Jim Moss work on the textiles with a team of dedicated volunteers. The team assesses each textile’s condition, photographs it, then vacuums it and rolls it onto archival tubes.

Recently, we have been working on the Owen A. Tomlinson Collection of ethnographic Philippine textiles. From 1909 to 1913, Tomlinson served as commander of the Philippine Constabulary in the (then) subprovince of Ifugao (Northern Luzon) in the U.S. Colonial Government. After that, he was appointed lieutenant governor of the subprovince, a position he held until 1915.  

During his time in the Philippines, Tomlinson acquired a collection of nearly 40 textiles, as well as other objects. His family donated the collection to the UMMAA in the late 1970s. Despite being more than a century old, most of the textiles are in excellent condition. Included among them are a number of handwoven loincloths or sashes, skirts, and blankets and carrying cloths.  Here we feature two of the Tomlinson textiles we have recently rolled, both with the characteristic striped patterns of Northern Luzon weaving.

This cotton loincloth is striped red, blue, yellow, and white. 153” long x 8” wide. Date: 1909-1915. From Northern Luzon, the Philippines. Owen A Tomlinson Collection, UMMAA 2002-3-9.