The Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan
Introduction to "The Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan"
The term "Austronesian Tribe" originated from "Austronesian" in linguistics and archaeology, which denotes a variety of peoples distributed all the way from the Pacific islands to Madagascar in Africa. The indigenous peoples in Taiwan belong to one of these groups. Many prehistoric artifacts excavated are similar to the traditional daily? utensils of the indigenous peoples, and thus the indigenous peoples can be seen as the successors descedants to prehistoric cultures. However, since further research concerning the relationship between the indigenous peoples and prehistoric cultures is required, the focus of this hall is on the societies and cultures of today's indigenous peoples.
Due to the immigration of Chinese , the indigenous peoples of Taiwan experienced unprecedented changes in their lives. As a result, their cultural heritages are in great danger. However, the understanding of the contemporary lifestyles of the tribes may encourage others to learn about the efforts of the indigenous peoples made to accept the new culture while maintaining their traditional ways of life, or blending the new culture with the traditional ones. We hope that we have succeeded not only in presenting the lives of indigenous peoples in the past, but also their efforts in preservation and innovation for the future.
Austronesian cultures areindeed diverse, rich and vibrant.Tthe exhibition is presented in such a way that each tribe is regarded as a topic. We introduce various aspects of the indigenous cultures, including tribal relation, diversity of tribal culture, architectural style, gender and families, ocean culture, societal norm, sacrifices and concepts in the supernatural and the afterlife, with respective tribes. After visiting all the exhibition halls, visitors will gain a basic understanding of the abundant cultural resources of the indigenous peoples.
This exhibition room shows the social relationships within and across the tribes, as well as the clans, social ranking, genders and families. There are five themes: Introduction, Tribal Relationship of Pingpu, the Diversity of Atayal Tribal Culture, the Tribe and Architectures of Paiwan, the Division of Labor by Genders of Amis.
Here explains the legend concerning the origin of the tribes, sacrifices, the means of livelihood, architecture, families and clans of Austronesian tribes, as well as displays the distribution map of Austronesian tribes and the representative artifacts of each tribe.
2. Tribal Relationships-The Plain
The exchange between the Plain people and the Han Chinese is the focal point concerning tribal relationship. The complicated tribal relationship is interpreted through displays including ancient title deeds, cultivation permission, stone monuments, Chuluo County Chronicles, and the recent cultural renaissance of the Plain.
3. Cultural Pluralism -The Atayal
The Atayal is the most widely dispersed tribe in Taiwan, and is known for their weaving skills. The differences between the Atayal and its secondary braches can be observed from the dress and ornaments. The cloths and ornaments are also influenced upon and by the nearby tribes, such as the Saisiat and Amis.
4. The Culture of Architecture-The Paiwan
The refined architecture of the slat houses and sculptures are the symbol and artistic expression of social ranking. The location of the tribe, the Chief's house, and exquisite wood sculptures manifest the marvelous art and architectural sophistication of the Paiwan.
5. Sexual Division of Labor and Relationships within the Tribe-The Amis
The sexual division of labors is obvious in Amis society where families are formed upon maternal basis, and that both genders share equally important status. This tribe has a tight age organization, and both genders are responsible for different jobs respectively. There are tattoos that one should not touch the tools specialized for the use of the opposite sex, tools such as men's hunting tools and women's pottery tools.
Crafts, Subsistence, and the Society
This exhibition room shows the Oceanic Culture of the Yami, the societal norms of the Puyuma, and the ways of living of the Rukai. The crafts, social norms, and subsistence are consolidated to the theme of "Craft, Subsistence and the Society" of this exhibition room. With resources from the sea and the forest, Yami people who live in Lanyu developed refined fishing skills and crafts for shipbuilding. The exhibition room illustrates the building of large ships, the relationship between fishery and the locals, and the introduction of modern fishing technologies. As the NMP brings in the Yami 8-men boat to its collection, the making of the boat is recorded.
Palakuwan, the youth association, is unique to the Puyuma. Young males of 12 to 21 years of age have to join the Palakuwan to acquire skills and knowledge on survival. Nonetheless, the Palakuwan is not only for males, the females also take part in several activities, and often play the role of helpers. For the last few years, the function of the Palakuwan has been promoted to the activity center to strengthen the sense of community and the tribes.
The Rukai people can master the use of the abundant natural resources for living. In the past, only nobles had the right to own the lands, and collect rents from the common people. The legends telling how the nobles owned the land are popular. Nowadays, the Rukai people are very similar to that of other indigenous tribes. They no longer rely on natural resources for living, but rather, have adapted the modern life and became a part of the global socio-economic system.
Sacrifices and the Souls of the Body
This exhibition room illustrates the sacrifices and concept of spirits of the Saisiat, Tsou, and Bunun.
The pastaai ceremony of Austronesian tribes is a very special sacrificial ceremony, where people offer sacrifices to the legendary pygmies that were killed by the Saisiats. This is a representative sacrifice of the traditional ceremonies, dress, and social forms of the tribes.
Mayasvi (the War Ceremonies) and Homeyaya (the Millet Ceremonies) are the two important ceremonies of Tsou. The relationships between the tribe and the households can be observed. In the recent years, the Tsou people have actively reached out to perform cultural performances derived from traditional ceremonies. They even cooperated with Han Chinese artists in the play "Tsou's Oedipus" in year 1997. < More information>
The sorcery practiced by Bunun is said to have effects on relieving diseases or disasters for people, but also bringing them upon people. The sorcerers gain power through inauguration ceremonies, sorcery instruments, and annual power reinforcement ceremonies. However, sorcery is not specific to the sorcerers, but a power that everyone would want to learn. Today, Christianity and modern medicine have replaced some function of sorcery.