Wild Taiwan

A lady of leisure writes about wildlife in Taiwan.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Aboriginal peoples of Taiwan

Most people who visit Taiwan will pay a visit to the National Palace museum. However, there's a little treasure just beyond which is not well know. I didn't know much about the Aboriginal peoples of Taiwan till I went to Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines.

Through the multi-media programs, I was surprised to find out that this group of people are related to some tribes of Indochina, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia all the way to Madagascar. On hindsight, from what I've seen of the handicraft works of Vietnam, Borneo, Indonesia and Madagascar, I can see the similarities arising from a common origin.

There are many detailed introduction to the 12 different tribes, including harvest festivals, worship ceremonies, marriage and wedding clothes, games and funeral rites. There are original pieces of cloths and artefacts of the different tribes which are real eye-openers. The exhibits are housed in three storeys. The museum offers a discount to visitors who have visited the National Palace Museum.

The most well known singer of Aboriginal origin from Taiwan is A-Mei. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-Mei. Other Taiwanese artists are also exporting their art forms to Europe, US and Canada. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2006/05/16/2003308432

I'm glad that these groups of peoples are no longer ignored and are less likely to be looked down upon as in time past. They are becoming more proud of their heritage so they take pains to remember their traditional ways which I think is a good thing. Recently they even insist on keeping their original Aboriginal names in their ID card rather than recording them in Mandarin.

I like the museum so much that I've visited it three times in just over a year! I really hope more people will go and visit. I've hardly seen a soul during the times I was there. It would be a shame if it has to close because it couldn't afford the high maintenance cost. To get there, take the bus that goes to the National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物院 from Jiantan MRT station. Get off at Palace museum and walk up Zhishan road, address is 台北市至善路二段282號

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