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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 15.7: 19th Century German Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

Spiess - Tagalen mit Kampfhähnen - 2 traveling Tagalog men with roosters in Barong Tagalog and other filipiñiana clothing

The illustration here is titled Tagalen mit Kampfhähnen [Tagalogs with Fighting Cocks] published in 1864 from Gustav Spiess, the Merchant Delegate of Saxony. He published this illustration with his account of the Prussian Expedition of East Asia, which took place from 1859 to 1861. Our descriptions of this expedition and Spiess are in our previous installment 15.1.

As the title indicates, the main subjects are two Tagalog men traveling with their fighting roosters, which is consistent with a lot of art from this period showing the ubiquity of the sport of cockfighting.

These men are well-dressed in fancy clothing that is likely not suitable for work, and this is indicative of their upper class status. The man on the left wears a dyed Barong Tagalog with white collar and placket covered in embroidery and/or lace, wide-leg saya saya pants, sandals and a wide-brimmed salakot on his head possibly made of metal or other valuable material. He holds his rooster on his arm with a leash attached.

The man on the right wears a white Barong Tagalog, a gold cross necklace and esclavina (rain cape made of leaves and branches) over his barong, cropped wide-leg saya saya pants, and a metallic salakot on his head. He carries his rooster in what appears to be a suitcase.

There are faint images of women behind them in lace mantillas (veils). The woman with her body visible wears a saya (skirt) with striped tapis (overskirt).