Basket Hat (Suklang)

A fine circular men's hat called -.the suklang or falaka, which was common in Bontoc. These small, round hats were worn not on the top, but at the back of the head. To hold them in place, a fine cord went under the front of men's hair fringe (until the early twentieth century, Bontok men wore their hair long with a fringe). Their primary function was to serve as a pocket or bag to hold matches or flint, tobacco, pipes, betel nut, leaves, lime, etc. They also held the men's long hair. "It is believed the suk'-lang may have developed as a pocket from the narrow head-band, since the man's pipe is invariably put away in the suk'-lang, as also are his tobacco and matches, if he has them" (Jenks 1904: 702). Its secondary function is to designate a man's marital status. Bachelors wore a more decorative version; the married men wore a simple, plain, undecorated one or - as in this example - a beehive shaped basket. Bontok men wore their suklang as part of their everyday dress, changing to more spectacular headgear - decorated with wild boar's tusks, dog's teeth at the es, and feathers - for feasts, rituals, and ceremonies Maramba 1998: 37-39, Ellis 1981: 239).
(Sri Kuhnt-Saptodewo with contributions from Ana Maria Theresa Labrador and Eric Anderson 2009: 47)

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