BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
PAIWAN tribe from the Republic of China (Taiwan) during the 6th Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival showcased a tradition costume made from tree bark.
The costume is one of the cultural identities of the Paiwan tribe, which is one of Taiwan’s 16 tribes.
The tree barks are pounded and designs and patterns are woven into them.
This year’s MACFest saw representatives of the Paiwan tribe and the Amis tribe, who displayed and shared their cultures with other participants by way of dances, singing and items.
Island Sun team met with the Director General for Indigenous People Cultural Development Centre, Council of Indigenous People in Taiwan Mr Tseng Chih Yung and explained Paiwan’s costume is made of tree bark.
It was then used in square cloths made up of hemp, cotton or wool, he explained.
Mr Yung said men’s clothes include Chinese-style crew neck long-sleeve shirt, short skirt and outer rectangular cape draping over shoulder.
At important ceremonies people from Paiwan will wear hat, long jacket, male leg covering and shoulder belt, carrying a knife with them.
For female, clothes include one-piece dress with right collar and a crewneck, long skirt, leg covering, headband, elaborate wreath or forehead band.
Paiwan chiefs and noble families are entitle to certain patterns such as human head, human finger or hundred-pace snake that indicate their distinct noble status.
The special status of the chief and nobility is shown in costume, hand tattoo and wrist tattoo which they use to decorate their body.
Common people can also obtain their privilege to tattoo their body and hand after they honored for some achievement.
Paiwan is known for its family name, the concept of family and strict hierarchy which involves politics, marriage, religion and art in the society.
Paiwan people celebrate Millet Harvest Festival.
Besides, the Vuculj group of Paiwan celebrates ‘Five-Year Ritual’ every five years and invite ancestral spirits to come and visit their offspring.
It is also called the Ritual of the Union between people and Gods.
Current population of Paiwan is 97,903.