The Ifugao Woman's Lamma

The lamma is the Ifugao woman's upper garment. It was originally used by women mainly as a protection from the sun when they work in the rice fields. It was made from two panels of cloth woven from raw cotton (kapo) or baste fiber (kinàge).

Like many Southeast Asian cultures, Ifugao women practically go about their daily lives bare-chested.

The coming of western missionaries introduced new values on modesty requiring women to perpetually cover their upper bodies.

Photographic documents from 1900s show the use of imported cotton tops worn by women and girls before the introduction of the current lamma.

Today, the lamma evolved from its humble beginnings into a more ornate blouse for women featuring stitches, binobodan (ikat) patterns, and even collar and sleeves in some areas.

The modern-day lamma is now made of polyester or combed cotton embellished with kutilap stitches.

Contemporary lamma used for feasts and ceremonnies


Contemporary lamma designs showcased in an Ifugao textile fashion show