Upcoming Exhibition | From Pineapple to Piña: A Philippine Textile Treasure

From Pineapple to Piña: A Filipino Textile Treasure

Harvey Milk Terminal 1

March 2022 - November 2022

From Pineapple to Piña: A Philippine Textile Treasure

An extraordinary textile made by weaving the fibers of the leaves of the pineapple plant, piña, the Spanish name for pineapple, is unique to the Philippines, particularly on the island of Panay. Astonishingly, an individual or group had the ingenuity to utilize pineapple leaves for the purpose of creating exquisite fabric suitable to the tropical climate. Due to the laborious, time-consuming process of extracting the pineapple plant fibers, washing and bleaching the fibers in the sun, hand knotting three to four feet of fibers together to form thread, weaving threads into cloth on simple looms, and then embroidering the fabric, piña has always commanded high prices. Piña handwork quickly matched and often surpassed the most intricate laces popular in Spain and France at the time. Piña textiles, as well as the pineapple fruit itself, were coveted in Europe and considered worthy gifts to give to royalty. The textile enjoyed a golden age during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when it was made into shirts, women’s blouses, shoulder scarfs, handkerchiefs, and table linens. This exhibition will feature many impeccable nineteenth-century examples from Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles that illustrate the nearly inconceivable workmanship of early artisans as well as modern piña garments made by Filipino fashion designer Anthony Cruz Legarda.