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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 19.3: A Rich Mestizo by Justiniano Asunción

A Rich Mestizo by Justiniano Asunción - Mixed Filipino male in piña Barong Tagalog

Although there is no captioned title or year on this Justiniano Asunción painting, text accompanying this piece says this painting is of A Rich Mestizo and was created in 1841.

This is a tipos del pais (“types of the country”, native dress) painting depicting a snapshot of a typical day in the life of a man in the Philippines wearing his usual clothing. Our description of the artist, Justiniano Asunción, is in our previous installment 19.1.

The subject of this painting is a mixed blood (likely Spanish and native) Filipino man from the upper classes of society. His clothing and accessories are made of fine fabrics and materials, some of which are probably imported from the west via the Galleon Trade.

His Barong Tagalog is long and translucent with silk stripes or panels sewn on. There are embroidered flowers all over. The ends of his sleeves feature French cuffs with lace embroidered detailing on the ends. The front 1/4 opening is fastened by brass or gold buttons and surrounded by embroidery in a rectangular U shape. The collar is a fold-down pointed collar with lace embroidered details. The varied sheen and reflecting light suggests this barong is made of piña - pineapple leaf fiber fabric.

The man wears a sheer undergarment under his barong. He wears dark blue wide leg trousers. His trousers have a light colored waistband attached to it at the top.

The subject also wears dark velvet or leather slippers, a black top hat and a gold necklace. He carries a rolled up parasol and patterned hankerchief in his left hand.

This entire look is very much in fashion and typical of 19th century upper class men in the Philippines.