Philippine Headhunter-Motif Bontoc / Igorot Sculpture in Wood

    This hand-carved wooden figure of a nude warrior hoists aloft the freshly-severed head of an enemy, dead at his feet. The motif alludes to the headhunting traditions of the Bontoc and other Igorot peoples indigenous to the Philippine Islands. Bontoc reputation for skill in warfare was no myth: they succeeded in repelling Spanish colonial power (astoundingly) for the entire period of its authority, hence the historical endurance of their traditions. In WWII, Bontoc soldiers provided key support to the Allied troops in retaking the Philippines from the Japanese, and the headhunter motif, not infrequently with anatomically-correct and otherwise phallicized figuration, would rise in popularity as a folk homage.

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