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Ethnic Cultures of Asia: Wood Sculpture of the Payuan Indigenous People of Taiwan

"Ethnic Cultures of Asia: Wood Sculpture of the Payuan Indigenous People of Taiwan"

Toyokan Room 13  February 5, 2019 (Tue) - April 21, 2019 (Sun)

  
Sword (detail), Southern Taiwan, Second half of 19th-first half of 20th century

aiwan s population consists not only of Han Chinese, who originally came from the mainland, but also of 16 indigenous tribes. Of these tribes, the Payuan people based in southern Taiwan are divided into two social classes: the noble class, or the class of chieftains, and the class of villagers. People in both classes have long worshiped their respective ancestors. This exhibition shows wooden artifacts that were used mainly by the noble class at festivals and ceremonies. Patterns on the surfaces of these objects represent a sense of admiration and awe towards ancestral spirits. In particular, the patterns with motifs such as of human gures and snakes, which typically are symbolic of ancestral spirits of the noble class, constitute an important element characteristic of wood sculpture created by the Payuan people. This exhibition sheds light on two-dimensional yet lively depictions of ancestral spirits on various pieces of wood sculpture.

Current exhibit includes:
Seat with Human Face, Pingtung County, Taiwan, Second half of 19th–early 20th century
Connected Cups,
Majia-xiang, Pingtung County, Taiwan, Second half of 19th–early 20th century
Sword,
Southern Taiwan, Second half of 19th-first half of 20th century