Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tausug "Performing Arts"

Tausug "Performing Arts"

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 headgear) or the plaid known as baluy palang. Mat designs are memorized and passed on to the next generation.

The Tausug male hat is made by weaving nito with bamboo strips over nipa leaves. Thus it is three-layered and woven in a sawali pattern. Structure and form are provided by the nipa leaves and the light bamboo frame, while texture and feel are supplied by the nito strips. The open-weave layer assures ventila-tion inside. Another example of Tausug basketry is the small nito container, 18-20 cm in diameter, used either as a coin or as a personal basket. If used as a personal basket, it comes with cover and handle. As a coin basket, it is supplied with a loop to allow it to be carried on a finger. A slit serves as the coin slot. Aniline dyes-magenta, blue, violet, and green-color the nito strips (Lane 1986:193-194).

Hablun or textile weaving is another well-known art form among the Tausug. The most popular woven material is the pis siabit or male headgear, which is about 1 sqm in size and distinct for its geometric de-signs. Because of its intricacy, one pis takes about three to four weeks of work. Only women weave the pis and other materials such as the kambut (sash) and kandit (loincloth and sash), which unfortunately have completely disappeared (Szanton 1973:6.4-65). The female biyatawi is a blouse made of plain material like satin and is ornamented with tambuku (gold or silver buttons) on the breast, shoulders, and cuffs. It is usually worn with sawwal (loose trousers) of silk or brocade. A habul tiyahian is either slung across the shoulder or allowed to hang on one arm (Amilbangsa 1983:76-113).

The tadjung is an all-purpose skirt worn by both men and women. It has various other uses: as a turung or headcover, sash or waistband, blanket, ham-mock, and others. Resembling a big pillow case, the cloth for a patadjung has designs which are variously inspired: batik prints from Indonesia and Malaysia, checks and stripes from India, dunggala or stylized geometrical and floral patterns from Sarawak, Indone-sia, or Malaysia, calligraphic motifs from the Middle East (Amilbangsa 1983:82).

Tausug men wear the sawwal kuput or sawwal kantiyu (tight and loose trousers respectively), and match this with the badju lapi, a collarless short-tailored jacket similar to the biyatawi. The sleeves of the badju lapi are either long or "three-fourth's" with slits at the wrists. The badju lapi is likewise ornamented with tambuku on the breast, shoulders, and cuffs. The legs of the sawwal kaput are skin-tight down to the ankles, and have 22.5 cm slits on each side, which are also decorated with buttons. A kandit (handwoven or embroidered sash) tied around the waist serves to keep the sawwal kuput in place. A pis siabit is either tied around the head or left to hang on the shoulder (Amilbangsa 1983:114-130).

Function and simplicity define Tausug pottery. Decorations are limited to simple geometric lines as the emphasis has always been on the quantity not quality of the product. Examples include pots, vases, jugs, and various pieces of kitchenware (Szanton 1973: 61-63). Tutup or plate covers are made by Tausug men and women; smaller pieces are called turung dulang riki-riki, and are used as wall adornment. Tutup mea-sure about 75 cm in diameter and are made of coconut leaves inside, and silal or buri leaves outside. Colored pandan leaves are sewn on the exterior and serve as decoration (Szanton 1973:64). Calligraphy is found printed or carved on doors and gates, as well as on tapestries. Musical instruments, especially the gabbang (native xylophone), are also decorated by the Tausug (Szanton 1973:65).

Tausug Literary Arts :
Tausug literature includes poetry and prose, and narrative and nonnarrative forms. The content of these forms belongs to either of two traditions: folk, which is more closely related with indigenous culture; or Islamic, which is based on the Quran and the Hadith (sayings) and Sunna (traditions and practices) of the prophet Muhammad. Folk nonnarrative poetry includes tigum-tigum or tukud-tukud (riddles), masaalaa (proverbs), daman (poetic dialogue or advice), pituwa (maxims), malikata (word inversions), tilik (love spells), and tarasul (poems) (Tuban 1977:101).

Tausug tigum-tigum are either asked in casual conversation or sung during celebrations; but in both cases, the answer is volunteered as soon as the audience has given up guessing. In form, they may be in quatrain form (when sung), in rimed couplet, or in prose. Common subjects include flora and fauna, house-hold items, climate, topography, celestial bodies, human anatomy, food, games, and religious practices (Tuban 1977:101, 108, 111-112). Riddling in Tausug society functions mainly as a form of entertainment, especially during weddings, wakes, and the month of Ramadan, when it becomes a duel of wit and wisdom. It also serves a pedagogical value by training children to think and be aware of nature and the objects around them.

Tausug Performing Arts :
Various musical instruments, played solo or as an ensemble, provide the Tausug with music. Most notab-le is the kulintangan ensemble consisting of two gandang (drums), a tungallan (large gong), a duwahan (set of two-paired gongs), and the kulintangan (a graduated series of 8 to 11 small gongs). At least five players are needed to play the ensemble which is used to accompany dances or provide music during celebra-tions (Kiefer 1970:2).

Other popular instruments are the gabbang (na-tive xylophone) and the biyula (native violin). With 14 to 24 keys divided into seven-note scales, the gabbang has become the most popular musical instrument in Sulu. It is used to accompany Tausug vocal music such as the sindil. The tune produced when the gabbang is played solo by a man or woman is called tahta'.

The biyula is similar to but larger than the western violin. It consists of four strings played by a bow made of horsehair. Traditionally played by men, the biyula, with the gabbang, accompany the sindil (Kiefer 1970:2) Flute music is associated with peace and travel. It represented by the following less popular instruments: the saunay (reed flute), suling (bamboo flute), and kulaing (jew's harp). The saunay is essentially a six-holed slender bamboo, 1.5 mm in diameter, capped by a sampung simud (mouthguard). A resonating chamber made of palm leaves is housed in the mouthguard. The suling is a larger version of the saunay. It is a 60-cm long bamboo with a 2-cm diameter. Like the saunay, it has six fingerholes (Kiefer 1970:4). The repertoire for Tausug instrumental music in-clude: the gabbang tahtah (gabbang with biyula accompaniment); the kasi-lasa, lugu, and tahtah (biyula songs); the sinug kiadtu-kari (kulintangan); the tiawag kasi (saunay music), the tahtah (suling music); and others (Kiefer 1970).

Kalangan or Tausug vocal music can be divided into narrative and lyric songs, and further into the lugu and the paggabang traditions. The luguh traditio-n denotes unaccompanied religious songs, while the paggabang tradition applies to "more mundane" songs that are accompanied by the gabbang and biyula (Trimillos 1972).

Narrative songs tell a story and include all the sung kissa like the parang sabil. Lyric songs express ideas and feelings and consist of the langan batabata (children's songs), the baat (occupational songs), the baat caallaw and pangantin (funeral and bridal songs, respectively), the tarasul (sung poems), the sindil (sung verbal jousts), the liangkit (from langkit or "chained"), and the sangbay or song to accompany the dalling-dalling dance. The langan batabata are more specifically lulla-bies. They have a soft and relaxing melody (Tuban 1977:210):

The liangkit are long solo pieces accompanied by the gabbang and biyula. Unlike the sindil, they are not performed extemporaneously. The subject of the liangkit is wide-love, war, nature, and others. The Tausug lelling, adopted from the Samal, are part of the liangkit tradition, but are sung to the music provided by a guitar. They relate and comment on current events. One good ex-ample is the lelling narrating the entry of the Moro National Liberation Front forces into Jolo town in February 1974.

The art of singing to the dalling-dalling dance is called pagsangbay. The song usually dictates the movement that the dancers should follow. The lugu or sail tradition is associated with reli-gious rituals and rites of the life cycle such as wed-dings, births, paggunting, pagtammat, and funerals. It is characterized by dahig or jugjug (high vocal ten-sion). The tempo is slow with long sustained and stressed tones. Although usually performed by women, the lugu can also be sung by men (Trimillos 1974):

The most well-known dance of the Tausug is the pangalay. It is the basic style from which the move-ments of various dances in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are derived. The pangalay is danced by either sex, alone or together, and is usually accompanied by the kulintang ensemble. The movement of the pangalay is concen-trated on the thighs, knees, ankles, toes, waist, shoulders, neck, elbows, wrists, and fingers. The torso is usually kept rigid, moving upward or downward as the flow of the dance demands. The feet is firmly planted on the ground and move in small shuffling steps (Amilbangsa 1983:14, 62). The pangalay dances are distinctive in their use of the janggay (metal nail extenders) to underscore hand movements. The extended fingers are stiff and set apart from the thumbs.

Another well-known Tausug dance is the dalling--dalling, where handkerchiefs or fans are used. A sing-er usually accompanies the dance by describing the various movements of the dancer. The song is known as the sangbay and the singing. pagsangbay. Some of the songs used are "Lingisan/kinjung-kinjung," "Dalling-dalling." The development of the dalling--dalling is attributed to a native Tausug by the name of Albani who became a famous proponent of the dance (Amilbangsa 1983:42).

Tausug martial-art dances are performed by men and include the langka-silat and the langka-kuntaw. The langka-silat simulates a fight and is usually per-formed with two or three other dancers. The langka--kuntaw is a dance of self-defense, resembling the mar-tial arts of China, Japan, and Burma (Amilbangsa 1983:32-35). A Tausug occupational dance is the linggisan which depicts a bird in flight; the taute, which shows a fisher diving for the prickly catfish; and and the suwa--suwa, which shows dancers imitating the swaying of lemon trees (Amilbangsa 1983:28).

1 comment:

  1. Interesting reading. Was doing some digitization on kinjung-kinjung music field recordings so I browsed on materials written for this. Will go back to your article again. Thanks :)