The Ministry of Culture (MOC) recently announced that two traditional indigenous weaving craftsmanship techniques -- the "Gaya tminun (傳統織布)" of the Seediq people and the "ni tenunan tu benina (香蕉絲織布)" of the Kavalan people -- are designated as "Important Traditional Crafts," and Chang Feng-ying (張鳯英) of the Seediq and Yen Yu-ying (嚴玉英) of the Kavalan are recognized as preservers and bestowed the title of “National Living Treasure”.
In the announcement, MOC said the important traditional craft "Gaya tminun" is the embodiment of the Seediq people's weaving culture. The fabric works weaved by Seediq women over the years is representation of their cultural products, which reflects the history of weaving and the progress and development of this unique technique of the tribe.
Chang, who is the preserver for "gaya tminun," inherited the weaving technique from her mother and grandmother, and she is recognized by her tribe as the most talented and skillful weaver.
As for "ni tenunan tu benina," it is the representative of the craftmanship of Kavalan people. Traditionally, the people would perform a Sbau ritual before cutting the pseudo stem of a banana plant to make the fabric. Yen, a second-generation weaver dedicated to reviving “ni tenunan tu benina” in the Kavalan community, is familiar with the skills and tools used for weaving with banana leaves. She is also able to perform the traditional ritual, known as paspaw, to pray for blessings from their ancestors’ spirits.
MOC pointed out that the preservation and inheritance of Taiwan’s important intangible cultural heritage is an important mission for the Ministry. According to Article 92 of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, MOC will take appropriate measures to preserve and conserve the cultural heritage, such as initiating mentorship programs to pass on the techniques, documenting the heritage, and promoting educational activities.
As of May 2021, MOC has registered a total of 19 "Important Traditional Performing Arts" and 28 preservers, as well as 20 "Important Traditional Crafts" and 27 preservers.
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