Tikam Waist Ornament

   Tikam Waist Ornaments
  Tikam gold-lipped waist oyster shell ornament worn by Bontoc warriors

If you were a Bontoc warrior in the Philippines one of your prized possessions would be a large gold-lipped oyster shell about the size of a plate, beautifully and finely engraved with patterns emulating tattoos or textiles.  

Unlike a plate this shell had no function, but it did have a relevant and significant purpose  - to showcase the status of its owner.

Tikam beautifully engraved with geometric patterns  
Tikam waist ornaments are beautifully engraved with geometric patterns emulating tattoos or textiles  

This week's New Arrival features one of these rare status symbols. It is called a Tikam and was worn as a hip ornament only on special occasions. At one time it was a Bontoc warrior's prized possession. Now it waits to belong to someone else, where in our culture it will remain a compelling, beautiful, exotic symbol of merit and high status.

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Sinuanang Habi: Philippine Ancestral Weave Example of Tikam worn by the Bontoc people published in Sinuanang Habi: Philippine Ancestral Weave
Above: An example of Tikam waist ornaments worn by the Bontoc, published in Sinaunang Habi: Philippine Ancestral Weave (Pastor-Roces, 1991)