To celebrate the common heritage among Taiwan's aboriginal tribes and the Maori people of New Zealand, the National Museum of Prehistory will hold a special exhibition titled "Sanga - Flying Warriors” from Dec. 11 through July 11, 2014.
"Sanga,” a word in the tribal tongue of the Rukai people from eastern Taiwan, refers to a sacred group of elite warriors. They are held in the highest esteem by those they protect, and the word "Sanga” is synonymous with honor, valor, and the epiphany of masculinity.
The mythology surrounding the creation of the Sanga elite can be traced back to the Taromak subgroup of the Rukai people. With settlements far up and spread across remote mountainous areas, the Taromak people relied on Sanga - or flying warriors - to relay important information or emergency messages.
Traveling solely by foot and often in packs of no more than one, a Sanga would spend an average of two days speeding between two locations to delivera message -usually one that warns of imminent danger, a serious plea for help, or the death of a loved one.
Sanga are characterized by a cluster of bells they wear, which allows others to hear the ringing of their arrival long before they footsteps enter the village doors. Not only will these representative items be on display at the Taitung museum, the seven-month exhibition will also include treasured relics such as the lavaliu molaraos - "a chieftain emblem” - of the Taromak tribe.
The opening ceremony will be held on Dec. 11, featuring Austronesian dances to be performed by visiting students from New Zealand's Auckland University of Technology.
Click here for more information about the upcoming cultural exchange visit with New Zealand.