Pre-Colonial gold teeth in the Philippines

Some of you may know of prePhilippine culture and the ways gold was used to in jewelry. Did you also know that gold was used in dental ornamentation? Along with teeth blackening and filing, Gold pegs and brackets were placed on teeth. Our ancestors across the islands were so skilled, that they could drill tiny holes with stone tools in teeth and attaching gold jewelry. One of the most famous examples is from Bolinao, Pangasinan. In the Filipino Heritage book series, you’ll see other examples.

I first started exploring gold teeth at my exhibitions the Day of the Dead art shows at SOMArts. I used gold fronts as a conversation starter even though I knew it was not quite right.

When I met @love.crystals.namaste at @undiscoveredsf and showed her the examples, we talked about actually recreating it one day. That day is now. I didn’t have my teeth drilled with holes. They were attached in a method that reminded me of when I had braces. These triangle patterns are found in various materials and tattoos. I hope to see this practice revitalized in the modern era. Hit up @love.crystals.namaste who’s in the SF Bay Area to get similar work done.