Historical accounts of cat-fights.

It doesn’t really show, but I do like fashion accessories–they’re almost as interesting as hand-wraps and mouth guards–and mostly I admire these trinkets for the effort placed into their creation or the sheer novelty of the idea that it sells.

While doing some research for Hinilawod comic character costumes, I was quite relieved to find some historical backing for my interest in the most inconsequential of trinkets.

There will be a series on the fashion of Ancient Visayans and for this post, we’ll talk about earrings. These discussions are all so 16th Century, but I find, that the past helps me understand who we are now.

Men and women both wore earrings. They intentionally distended that earlobes, so the ornaments would swing low enough to reach the shoulders; this swinging motion added to their beauty.

Children’s earlobes were pierced soon after birth. A thick cotton thread would be inserted in the holes to keep them from closing; later, as the wound healed, these would gradually be replaced with bamboo or hardwood splints of increasing circumference.

Men normally had one or two holes per earlobe, while women had two or three. Before a child was two years of age, all these holes had been pierced into their ears.

It was not uncommon for the distended lobes to be torn out. Women, especially, targeted the earlobes in a catfight. An operation, called kulot or sisip, would then be requested. The raw edges would be trimmed and sutured together.

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  1. (c. 1590). Boxer Codex. Holland House.
  2. Scott, W. H. (1994). Barangay: sixteenth-century Philippine culture and society. Ateneo de Manila University Press.

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