Ambalang Ausalin

Ambalang Ausalin
Ambalang Ausalin | @nccaofficial

Ambalang Ausalin (March 4, 1943 – February 18, 2022)
Textile Weaver
Lamitan, Basilan

Weaving is an extremely important craft in the Yakan community. All Yakan women in the past were trained in weaving. Long ago, a common practice among the Yakan was that, when a female was born, the pandey, traditional midwife, would cut the umbilical cord using a wooden bar called bayre (other Yakan pronounce this as beyde). That bar was used for ‘beating-in’ the weft of the loom. By thus severing the umbilical cord, it was believed that the infant would grow up to become an accomplished weaver. This, and all other aspects of the Yakan weaving tradition, is best personified by a virtuoso from the weaving domicile of the Yakan in Parangbasak, Lamitan City – Ambalang Ausalin.

Apuh Ambalang, as she was called by her community of weavers, is highly esteemed in all of Lamitan. Her skill is deemed incomparable: she was able to bring forth all designs and actualize all textile categories typical to the Yakan. She masterfully executed the suwah bekkat (cross-stitch-like embellishment) and suwah pendan (embroidery-like embellishment) techniques of the bunga sama category. She possessed a complex knowledge of the entire weaving process, aware at the same time of the cultural significance of each textile design or category.

The tennun Yakan is an extraordinarily important manifestation of Yakan culture. Its categories, colors, designs or motifs, and significance will constantly remind Ambalang, in her outstanding handwork, what it means to be Yakan — people of the earth. Through her craft, Ambalang as a’a pandey megtetennun (an expert weaver), affirmed their identity as a people who continuously weave the threads of culture, interlacing past, present, and, hopefully, the future, in becoming a cultural treasure for the new generation Yakan, for all Filipinos, and all humankind.

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