Guardians of Atayal Weaving
The clothing of Taiwan's indigenous people represents the prominent features of each tribe. It symbolizes cultural ideas and beliefs with vivid colors and diverse styles. Every indigenous tribe has its own unique clothing style and characteristics.
Creatively, Paiwan, Rukai and Bunun peoples use dark blue or black cloth to present their lively and varied designs. Amis, Tsou, Saisiya, and Atayal peoples are apt to use blood red and azure (sky blue) to express their reverence and love for Nature. And the Yami (Tao) people living on Lanyu Island are the only indigenous tribe to weave cloth using palm fiber.
For textile production, all indigenous groups used a squared cloth system. This means they used a horizontal loom with a strap to weave exquisite and beautiful cloth, and then sewed pieces of cloth together to make an integrated garment.
A considerable amount of pendants are used by all the indigenous people in Taiwan to make attractive clothing. Shells, buttons, lazurite beads and so forth are added not only for decoration, but also as symbols of status and wealth. The clothing carries a traditional aesthetic meaning. All the colors, patterns and designs signify artistic property and social significance.
In recent years, a husband-wife duo has been diligently documenting the weaving traditions of the Atayal tribe – the husband Baunay Watan (弗耐．瓦旦) through images and films, and the wife Yuma Taru (尤瑪．達陸) through dyeing and weaving. Here’s their story below:
Baunay Watan is an Atayal cultural preservationist who has documented the fragile traditions of the Atayal tribe through images and films since 1996. To pass down traditional heritage and empower the Atayal people, Baunay also founded the Atayal Liyung Peynux Cultural Association (泰雅北勢群文化協進會) with other cultural activists … (read more)
Yuma Taru is a contemporary artisan who has revitalized the unique dyeing and weaving techniques of the Atayal people in Taiwan. In the past two decades, Yuma has carefully researched the roots of her Atayal culture and endeavored to document, promote, and pass down such traditions. Through her efforts, the Atayal weaving tradition is now re-introduced to the public as an art form that embodies the context of indigenous culture … (read more)
Museum of Weaving Handicrafts
In recognition of the unique charm of traditional woven and knitted fabrics, the Taichung City Cultural Center founded the Museum of Weaving Crafts in 1990 to collect a broad range of materials, including fabrics and articles made with braiding, knitting, dying, weaving, and embroidering techniques used by many cultures across the Asia-Pacific region … (read more)