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tausug

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Tausug visual arts are represented by carvings, metalworks, woodworks, tapestry and embroidery, mat making and basketry, textile and fashion, pottery, and other minor arts (Szanton 1963). In general, Tausug visual arts follow the Islamic prohibition of representing human or animal forms. Consequently, Mindanao and Sulu have developed ukkil or abstract motifs which are carved, printed, or painted into various media. These motifs are suggestive of leaves, vines, flowers, fruits, and various geometric shapes. Tausug carving is best exemplified by the sunduk or grave marker. Although not as stylized as those of the Samal, the Tausug sunduk are wood or stone carv-ings of geometric or floral forms. Women's grave mark-ers are flatter with carved geometric designs, those of the men are more floral. Sakayan or outriggers present yet another media for Tausug carving. Adornments are usually made on the prow and sometimes on the sambili or strips across the hull. The carvings are done either on the boat itself, or on a separate piece of wood which is then attached to the vessel. Abstract manok-manok (bird) motifs are the most common. Ajong-ajong/sula-sula are carved tips supporting the wrapped sail; the hidjuk (dark cord) on the sangpad (prow-plate) also serve as decoration. Carved saam or cross--pieces supporting the outriggers are called the mata (eyes) of the boat. Colors used on the finished carvings are yellow, red, green, white, and blue (Szanton 1973:33-47). Tausug mananasal or blacksmiths produce bolo, kalis, and barong (bladed weapons). Fishing implem-ents are also made, such as the sangkil (single-po-inted spear) and the sapang (three-pronged spear). The more expensively fashioned blades have floral and geometric incisions; the ganja or metal strips which lock the handle and the blade are a decorative as well a functional device. Bronze casting is not as well developed as it is in Lanao. Among the several func-tional pieces produced were the batunjang (standing...
Tausug visual arts are represented by carvings, metalworks, woodworks, tapestry and embroidery,
mat making and basketry, textile and fashion, pottery, and other minor arts (Szanton 1963). In
general, Tausug visual arts follow the Islamic prohibition of representing human or animal forms.
Consequently, Mindanao and Sulu have developed ukkil or abstract motifs which are carved,
printed, or painted into various media. These motifs are suggestive of leaves, vines, flowers, fruits,
and various geometric shapes.
Tausug carving is best exemplified by the sunduk or grave marker. Although not as stylized as those
of the Samal, the Tausug sunduk are wood or stone carv-ings of geometric or floral forms. Women's
grave mark-ers are flatter with carved geometric designs, those of the men are more floral. Sakayan
or outriggers present yet another media for Tausug carving. Adornments are usually made on the
prow and sometimes on the sambili or strips across the hull. The carvings are done either on the
boat itself, or on a separate piece of wood which is then attached to the vessel. Abstract manok-
manok (bird) motifs are the most common. Ajong-ajong/sula-sula are carved tips supporting the
wrapped sail; the hidjuk (dark cord) on the sangpad (prow-plate) also serve as decoration. Carved
saam or cross--pieces supporting the outriggers are called the mata (eyes) of the boat. Colors used
on the finished carvings are yellow, red, green, white, and blue (Szanton 1973:33-47).
Tausug mananasal or blacksmiths produce bolo, kalis, and barong (bladed weapons). Fishing
implem-ents are also made, such as the sangkil (single-po-inted spear) and the sapang (three-
pronged spear). The more expensively fashioned blades have floral and geometric incisions; the
ganja or metal strips which lock the handle and the blade are a decorative as well a functional
device. Bronze casting is not as well developed as it is in Lanao. Among the several func-tional
pieces produced were the batunjang (standing trays) and the talam (flat trays). Gold and silver-
smithing for jewelry remain lucrative. Items produced by the local goldsmith include the singsing
(ring), gallang (bracelet), gantung liug (necklace), bang (stud earring), aritis (dangling earring), pin
(brooch), and gold teeth. In the past, tambuku (buttons) made of gold or silver decorated the
traditional male and female costumes and were made with exquisite de-signs, often inlaid with
palmata (semiprecious stones or gems). Among the favorite palmata are mussah (pearl), intan
(diamond), kumalah (ruby) (Szanton 1973:47-51; Amilbangsa 1983:142-157).
An example of Tausug woodwork is the puhan (wooden handle) of bladed weapons which may be
simple or decorated with gold or silver wires, strings, and rings. For the barong, the handle is
wrapped in cord and metal at the far end, and carved and polished at the upper part. At the end of
the grip is a protrusion carved with ukkil designs. The handle of the kalis, which the Tausug terms as
daganan kalis, can also be profusely decorated, sometimes with mother-of-pearl. Taguban
(scabbards) are beautifully carved and are covered with budbud (fine rattan). Other woodworks
include kitchen utensils and furniture items like beds, chests, and wardrobes (Szanton 1973:51-54).
There are two types of tapestries that the Tausug use to hang as house decoration: the luhul or
canopy that hangs from the ceiling, and the kikitil/buras or wall tapestry. The ukkil design used for
both is first traced on a starched white cloth which is then cut and sewn over a red, green, yellow, or
blue background material. The ukkil design of the luhul, for example, is in the form of a tree with
spreading leaves, vines, flowers, and branches. About 1 m wide, the kikitil is a smaller version of the
luhul and is hung on the wall. The size of the room determines the length of the kikitil which is
divided into various units correspond-ing to individualized panels. The ukkil design may be similar in
all units.
Embroidery, another Tausug visual art form, is used to ornament table cloth, pillow cases, bed
spreads, and the habul tiyahian (embroidered tube). The brightest silk thread is often used for the
habul to underscore the design, which follows the ukkil pattern. Used as bedding or underbedding,
baluy or mats are usually made from pandanus. Double layering pro-vides decoration and color; a
simple base mat is sewn under a colored panel which has been dyed with one or more colors. The
designs the Tausug usually adopt are the geometric patterns found on the pis siabit (male
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