Luhul | @natmuseumwsm

LUHUL or canopy is a traditional Tausug tapestry used to decoratively cover the ceiling part of a house during festive occasions. It serves as protection from leaves, pests, and dust.

In traditional luhul making, the Tausug uses applique needlework, cutting “ukkil” patterns on white cloth and stitching it onto a larger plain-colored piece of fabric. They usually use tropical fibers from cotton plants dyed red, green, and blue as the luhul’s background.

Luhul uses the ukkil motif commonly found among the arts in the Southern Philippines. Its ukkil design forms a growing tree with multiple roots, branches, and leaves representing the “Tree of Heaven.” The tree symbolizes timelessness, eternity, and infinity. The outlining square or rectangular edges is “kikitilan,” suggesting creeping vines. The tree and plant elements that adorn the luhul also symbolize wisdom that, through roots in meditation, bears the fruit of the spirit.

Visit the National Museum of the Philippines exhibition, “Luhul, Landap, Inaul, and Tennun: Fabrics of Strength and Protection Among the Bangsamoro People” in Zamboanga City to know more about the Bangsamoro fabrics.

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