From The Archives
LAGANG in the Mentrida 1628 Lexicon is clearly identified as either a “caracol grande” most closely a “a mollusk with a single spiral shell” or also a concha – in which case, it is a “conch shell.” The later printed editions of Mentrida, do not have the native term LAGANG, but instead use other names for shell like TACLOBO for a “concha del mar” or TIPACA for conch shells from the lake.
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In this video, Dr Jobers Bersales explores the shell-making traditions of several towns in the province of Cebu. He emphasizes that there is no term for the making of shells into an art form, but does not negate the fact that the LAGANG is mentioned in early lexicons like Mentrida, including a clear drawing of a nautilus shell in Alcina.
In the video, Dr Bersales also highlights the work of Richoy Colina, one of the last remaining artists who continue to create work using the Lagang.
Dr. Bersales is a professor at the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and History of the University of San Carlos and director of USC Museum. He obtained his doctorate in Anthropology from USC under a sandwich program in archaeology with New Mexico State University and holds an M.A. in Philippine Studies from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. He has written a number of books on Cebu’s colonial heritage.