Banana (Musa spp. ) plants have long been valued for their many usages, such as for fruit or for cooking purposes. However, a specific species of the banana plant (Musa textilis) has been utilized in the Philippines, its native region, to produce strong and durable textiles. Abaca, as it is commonly known in the country, is mainly woven on backstrap and floor looms in village-based communities nationwide. It can then be used to make bags, clothes, sandals, and more. This paper summarizes textile weaving and usage within indigenous groups in the southern island of Mindanao of the Philippines, as well as an analysis of the dyes used for these textiles via photospectrometry. Photospectrometry uses light to analyze various chemical compounds. This method will be used to determine patterns in plant and soil dyes on abaca fiber textiles from Mindanao, the Philippines, within the visible wavelength (350 nm-810 nm). For some indigenous groups, abaca is treated with beeswax (Cera alba). Photospectrometry will be used to assess color (also known as chromatophores), natural vs. commercial dyes, luster of waxed vs. unwaxed fiber (hydrocarbons), and other properties. This research can be used to better understand the significance of specific weaving, dyeing, and other techniques on abaca within Filipino culture. The compounds of natural and commercial dyes can also be understood from a chemical standpoint by examining textile dyes and wax through photospectrometry.
"Anthropological and Photospectrometry Analysis of Natural Dyes in Banana Textiles of the Philippines,"
Locus: The Seton Hall Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 6, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarship.shu.edu/locus/vol6/iss1/2