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Rare Fikum or Tikam Bontoc status symbol waist ornament


Rare 20th century Fikum or Tikam Bontoc status symbol waist ornament

The Fikum or Tikam is a large engraved gold lipped oyster shell worn somewhere at the waist, in front or one of the sides by men of the head hunting Bontoc tribe of the Northern Luzon, Philippines. The shell is engraved around the edge with geometric designs (locally a design called minamais - corn designs) derived from tattooing and has large coconut shell discs in the center, front and back (no coconut shell on the back). The Fikum is not a buckle – it does not close the belt and can be placed on the hip or in the front. Like the stunning shell necklace of the Ifugao's in Mayaoyao this is its counterpart - a high status symbol ornament which is only owned by a few men of the Bontoc tribe and usually reserved for special occasions. Owners are reluctant to part with them and they are quite difficult to buy..

Reference: “Form & Splendor” by Roberto Maramba, pp 60 – 65.

Type of Object: Bontoc high status waist ornament

Local Terms: Fikum. Tikam

Ethnic Group: Bontoc ( Igorots or Cordillerans) of Northern Luzon Philippines

Country of Origin: Philippines

Materials: Mother-of-pearl shell, coconut shell

Dimensions: Diameter of mother-of-pearl shell is about 6.5 inches; Diameter of the coconut shell is about 2 inches.

Overall Condition: Used, Very Good

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  • Shipping Weight (Plus Packaging): 400grams