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The Indigenous Stories Behind the Scenes

The latest commercial for Taiwan Design Expo in Taitung County, astonishingly beautiful! And since Taitung is the county with the highest density of indigenous population in Taiwan, there are many indigenous elements in the 30-sec clip. Could you tell what they are?

The Scarlet Garment of the Indigenous People

The red apparel is neither the tradition of Paiwan nor Rukai, who used to use dark colours like black only in the past……

No one can ignore the beautiful girl in the beginning of the video. According to her scarlet garment, she should be a Paiwan or a Rukai. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference from the costumes of Paiwan and Rukai as the two peoples have lived so close with each other and the cultures are influenced by their neighbours as a nature.

The red apparel is neither the tradition of Paiwan nor Rukai, who used to use dark colours like black only in the past, as the colour could set off the gorgeous bright-coloured totems much better than bright colours like scarlet.

 

The Glass Beads of Qkata Aboriginal Cultural Craft

Paiwan people didn’t make the articles by themselves but were said to exchange for the glass beads with foreigners.

The video then brings us to the gate to the world of beautiful Paiwan glass beads.

The making of glass beads has been an important industry of Paiwan communities, as it’s one of the most important traditional handicrafts of the indigenous peoples. However, Paiwan people didn’t make the articles by themselves but were said to exchange for the glass beads with foreigners, e.g. the Dutch people, in the 17th century.

The passages should be taken in Qkata Aboriginal Cultural Craft in Taitung.

 

The Tapa Making of Unique Tapa

Botanists even find that the spreading of the plant just matches the population of the world’s Austronesian peoples!

Our eyes are then attracted by the repeated beating of the elders onto a branch.

They are making tapas with paper mulberry’s branches, which used to be a common tradition of all the Austronesian peoples in the world — botanists even find that the spreading of the plant just matches the population of the world’s Austronesian peoples!

It’s the same for Taiwanese indigenous peoples to make tapas with paper mulberry’s branches before. But most of them have forgotten how to make it (or just feel reluctant to do the clumsy works as it’s much convenient and cheaper to buy a modern clothes), only some Amis elders in Taitung are still preserving this culture.

 

The Woodcraft of Sunrise Driftwood Workshop

They start to think what they could do to revive the local business. And the tradition of woodcraft soon came to their mind.

The next scene to be shown is the woodcraft of Sunrise Driftwood Workshop in Southern Taitung that we are going to bring a couple of friends from Singapore to visit in the beginning of Sep.

The woodcraft is a very important handicrafts of Paiwan people, whose aristocratic system used to provide a good environment for the artisans to do the arts at their best.

However, the people in Sunrise Driftwood Workshop did not do woodcraft in the very beginning. It was not until 2009 when the fatal typhoon Morakot took away the lives and properties of many local people did they start to think what they could do to revive the local business. And the tradition of woodcraft soon came to their mind.

 

The Last Secret in the Background……

Some indigenous scholars do believe they might have some religious or literal meanings that the modern people do not understand.

The last one thing related to Taiwanese indigenous people might not be significant — The theme music! Have you noticed the vocal dubbing Ho He Hai Yan? It’s probably the most famous empty word for singing of the Taiwanese indigenous peoples!

Like other empty words like Naruwan, Ho Hai Yan is also some common empty words that the Amis people like to use when they are singing for almost every single song!

Although dubbed as empty words, some indigenous scholars do believe they might have some religious or literal meanings that the modern people do not understand.

 

Welcome to Taitung!


 

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Photo via Taiwan Design Expo