Lightning belt “akosan“

This akosan consists of 6 conical shells which are lined up on a woven textile band. Furthermore three strands of smaller conical shells are lined up on a ribbon in the middle. The brass spirals serve as a stopper for the cone shells and are decoration as well.

Akosan were worn around the waist by women and served as a storage for heirlooms such as pearls and earrings, which were not allowed to be sold.

The akosan is held in high esteem and is inherited from mother to daughter [Jenks 1905: 164]. It is usually worn only by women of the kadangyan aristocratic class and is also known as a “lightning belt”. The name lightning belt or Gewíttergürtel derives from the fact that the folds of the fabric are used as a bag in which the valuables of the household, such as gold and silver jewelry, money or pieces of the children’s umbilical cord, are kept. The belt is kept in an easily accessible place in the house and is taken away when escaping from the house in case of fire caused by a storm or otherwise.

Object Lightning belt “akosan“
Culture Bontoc, Luzon
Time 20th century
Dimensions Total length 160 cm
Material Woven textile band, cone shells, shells, brass spirals
Supplementing Literature Back to room view