Object Name: Foaya
Provenance: Bontoc, Mt. Province
Mother-of-pearl, rattan wood
L 80 cm
As rare as the fikum is a necklace usually made of crocodile teeth worn by elite Bontok men. This necklace called foaya is associated with headhunting rites, ceremonies, and dances. Aside from its ceremonial use, it is also believed to have talisman power (Maramba 1998, 56). Due to the limited supply of crocodile teeth, alternative materials are also used to create the foaya such as mother-of-pearl, boar tusk, and even ceramics. The foaya featured here is not made of crocodile teeth but of mother-of-pearl shaped to simulate the contour of crocodile teeth. Each piece of mother-of-pearl is fastened into a piece of wood using rattan to form multiple pendants which are held together by rattan.