Original Philippine Igorot Headhunting Axe from the Kalinga & Itneg People - USGI Bring Back from Luzon
Original Item: One of a Kind. We received this as part of a collection from Soldier who fought in the Pacific campaign of WWII. This is a nice example of the famous "headhunter's axe", as used by the Igorot people of the Philippines. This group, whose name is Tagalog for 'mountaineer' are made of up multiple smaller ethnic units from the mountains of northern Luzon, Philippines. These groups keep, or have kept until recently, their traditional religion and way of life. Some live in the tropical forests of the foothills, but most live in rugged grassland and pine forest zones higher up.
The construction of this axe is specific to the Kalinga and Itneg (exonym: Tinguian) groups, which are located in the Central Cordilleran region of Luzon. The shape of the head is much more elongated, with longer spikes, than the typical Igorot design.
This example is of high quality construction, so most likely is from the 19th or early 20th century. The head relatively large and flat, with a sharply curved 4 1/2 inch long edge on the axe head, which measures about 4 1/2 inches long at the bottom, and 15 3/4 inches at the top. This difference in size is largely due to the long spike that protrudes from the reverse top of the axe head, which is about 6 1/2 inches long. The head is bound to the handle by rolled sheet iron, though it is somewhat loose now due to the wood shrinking.
The carved wooden handle is about 18 inches long, including the portion inside the iron fitting, and the axe is 21 inches overall. The handle has some nice carved ridges, which were both decorative, and aid in gripping the axe. There is also a pronounced "shelf" on the handle, which is unique to the Kalinga - Itneg type.
Brought back as a souvenir by a USGI after the war, a Genuine Headhunter's Axe!
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