T'boli Embroidery



From left, T'boli woman in embroidered jacket with bead head comb; T'boli shell jaket; T'boli women at chapel in embroidered finery; three generations of women..

There are a number of traditional T'boli clothing.  The most common are cross-stitch based designs, as shown in the two pictures on the right, above.  These can be of varying degrees of complexity and worth - from simple patterns with only limited coverage, to what the T'boli refer to as the 'full design', an intricate work in which most of the surface of the jacket, skirt or shirt are covered with embroidery.  The T'boli also have a traditional design based on the attaching of round mother of pearl shells to the cloth in geometric patterns.  Such clothing was previously reserved - more for reasons of cost than of tribal rules - for the use by tribal royalty.  At present, as mother of pearl has become harder to attain and more costly, these shell based designs more often use plastic shells.

T'boli embroidery can also be used in a variety of non-clothing designs, for example for table cloths, napkins and scarves.  While the T'boli embroiders, being highly skilled at their craft, are able to meet buyers requirements for a wide variety of designs, the greatest demand is for the more traditional patterns.  As with other T'boli goods, the inherent value of the product is not only in its functionality but in the story of the people, their traditions and the resulting colors and styles that make these products unique.

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For Sales and Other Matters, Contact Information

+63 926 935 9153
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato Province, Philippines
Electronic mail
General and Sales Information: tboli_tradecrafts@yahoo.com


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Cooperative of Women in Health and Development, Lake Sebu, Philippines
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Last modified: 07/03/09