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MOC designates indigenous artists as preservers of indigenous performing arts and crafts

  • Date:2021-04-20
MOC designates aboriginal artists as preservers of indigenous performing arts and crafts

The Ministry of Culture recently announced that it has registered "Amis Malan Macacadaay (阿美族馬蘭Macacadaay)," "Paiwan Kinavatjesan traditional embroidery (排灣族Kinavatjesan傳統刺繡)," and "Paiwan tjemenun traditional weaving (排灣族tjemenun傳統織布)" as important traditional performing arts and crafts of the Taiwanese indigenous people, and has designated Chu-Yin Culture and Arts Troupe (杵音文化藝術團), Lavaus (陳利友妹), and Ljumiyang (許春美) as their respective preservers.

According to the MOC, it has registered important traditional performing arts and crafts and designated individuals as their preservers since 2009, in accordance with the "Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法)." As of December 2020, 28 artists of 19 categories of traditional performing arts and 25 artists of 18 categories of traditional crafts have been registered as important preservers.

The important traditional performing art of "Amis Malan Macacadaay" is an indispensable and important form of traditional indigenous singing performed by the Amis Malan tribe (馬蘭部落). In old days, the tribal songs were sung after a long day’s work, during work, in everyday life, and at festivals as a way of fostering tribal cohesion and passing on tribal culture.

The Chu-Yin Culture and Arts Troupe was founded in 1997 to preserve and promote the traditional singing of the Amis Malan tribe in Taitung. Tribe elders sing and chant ancient ballads, while women and youth join in with polyphonic voices and praise their ancestors with dance. Malan Amis' polyphonic music incorporates "call-and-response," "high voice and low voice," and "curving" singing methods which makes it a versatile polyphonic form, yet more difficult to pass on.

The important traditional craft of "Paiwan Kinavatjesan traditional embroidery" is carried out by directly sewing patterns, of which "cross-shaped stitches" are its most recognizable element, onto ramie fabric.

Weaver Lavaus comes from the indigenous Paiwan tribe known for its exquisite weaving, embroidering, and woodcarving traditions. Devoted to the preservation and modernization of Paiwan art, the artisan who is now in her seventies has established a reputation for her traditional embroidery techniques and profound knowledge of the tribe's distinctive culture.

The important traditional craft of "Paiwan tjemenun traditional weaving" portrays patterns which reflect the wisdom of the tribe in adapting to their living environment, the inheritance of family traditions, and the creative process of weavers. The weaving craft entails oral traditions ingrained in the Paiwan language and folk songs.

Under Ljumiyang's guidance, Paiwan weavers utilized horizontal back-strap looms to showcase the tribe's century-old technique called tjinnun, making complex patterns of plain weave (pinakatitan, or single-bar weaving) and twill weave (kinaljagelesayan, or double-bar weaving). The master weaver is also working on deciphering how such woven works reflect the irreplaceable knowledge inherited from Paiwan ancestors, including traditional lifestyles, cultural norms, and social hierarchy.

The MOC noted that the preservation and transmission of important intangible cultural assets is its important mission. In light of the newly listed preservers of important traditional performing arts and crafts, the MOC will initiate master-apprentice programs along with promotional work in relation to preservation and education so as to pass on traditional Taiwanese culture and display Taiwan’s cultural distinctiveness.