GL Pestle Workshop  |  SA-ZI Weaving Workshop  |  Shan-ren Woodcarving Workshop  |  Director Lin Rong-huai  |  Granny I-wan  |  Granny Li  |  Tadao Beilin Workshop  |


Ah GL Pestle Workshop (Mr. Chen-lin Chung-shi)

[Time]: 9:00am to 12:00pm, November 12, 2005
[Place]: Hong Ye Tribe (AhGL Pestle Workshop)
[Speaker]: Yen Shih-chiang
[Photography]: Li Wei-chie
[Topic]: Traditional
Truku Pestle, Bow and Arrow, and Hunting Culture


  Explanation in detail


Picture with bow, arrow, mortar and pestle

Question 1: When did you begin doing this job?

Answer: I’ve been doing this job for more than 10 years because our tribe’s people don’t know much about Truku culture. I think it is a kind of sad. Also, I am enthusiastic about Truku culture. Of course, I know some basic skills in woodcraft. Then, I bought these tools and machine and began to make the pestles often used by our people.


Question 2: Where did you get the materials for the pestle, bow, and arrow?

Answer: I got the materials for the pestle from the phoenix trees I grow in my field. If I need some special materials, I will ask the farmers for help.

In Truku, we evaluate a man by his hunting. Of course, bow, arrow, and self-made rifles are the essential weapons for a Truku hunter. This is the reason why I got enthusiastic about making a bow and arrow. I have to find the materials for making a bow and arrow in the mountain myself. The woods should be elastic and unbreakable, such as thyme. It is great material for making a bow and arrow.TOP


  Explanation on bow and arrow


Bow making practice

Question 3: What are the require tools in a hunting trip?

Answer: It is not an easy task to become a good hunter! In addition to exceptional skills, he has to possess fine weapons and tools, such as the bow and arrow, self-made gun, and native’s knife.


Question 4: What are the hunting taboos?

Answer: In fact, the Truku tribe has many taboos related to hunting. Our people should obey these rules to avoid any misfortune happening to them or their families.

1. The hunter’s family should not eat tangerines, etc.

2. If they hunt before the millet is ripe, the wind will blow, and they will have a poor harvest.

3. They cannot hunt after the women give birth to babies. If they violate this taboo, they have to offer a pig and confess to the gods.

4. If they hunt while they are brewing wine for the wedding feasts, their dogs will die on the way.

5. If they hear the news of the death of other hunters, they cannot go hunting for a couple of days. In addition, they should throw away the corn cake that has been prepared and prepare to make some fresh ones.

6. If somebody goes hunting after indulging in adultery with wanton women, he will not get any game. In addition, there will be continuous drought and the crops will not yield anything.

7. When they go hunting, the women should not knit or weave at home. Otherwise, it will be harmful to the hunters.

8. They should not talk about the number of their game during the hunting trip.

9. If they cannot get any game on the hunting trip and somebody is wounded, they believe there must be somebody indulging in adultery or indecent sex back at the tribe.

10. If they get sick on the hunting trip, they should leave all the things they carry to the hunting grounds and return home immediately.

11. The women should not touch the hunting tools and flaxen threads.

12. If somebody passed away in the tribe, the hunter cannot go hunting.TOP


SA-ZI Weaving Workshop(Mrs. Mei-Chih Hus)

[Time]: 9:00am to 11:00am, November 13, 2005
[Location]: Hong Ye Tribe (SA-ZI Weaving Workshop)
[Presenter]: Li Wei-chie
[Photography]: Huang Su-hua
[Topic] Traditional Truku Weaving


  Traditional weaving


Explanation on weaving

Question 1: Why did you engage in this job

Answer: At the earliest time, we used to weave traditional quilt. Normally, we used ramie as the materials for weaving quilts. In Truku, when we get married, we have to weave about 30 quilts as gifts to our relatives. Of course, it was our part-time job and we earned extra money as well. Later, with the Community Development Association’s help, we made some changes and began to make traditional clothing to preserve our traditional culture.


Question 2: What does the rhombus on your works mean? Do they mean anything special?

Answer: The rhombus on the cloth means the eyes of the ancestors’ spirits. Also the lines and patterns on the clothes mean something very special too!


Question 3: What kinds of materials do you use for weaving?

Answer: In the past, we used wild or cultivated ramie. Now, we use improved color cotton or wool yarn.


 Desktop Loom


Picture Together

Question 4: What are the major tools you use for weaving?

Answer: Now, we all use improved table looms. It is a kind of compact and portable machine. It does not have as many parts as the traditional ones do. There is only a knife-shape rod and a shuttle.


Question 5: What are the major tools you use for weaving?

Answer: Now, we all use improved table looms. It is a kind of compact and portable machine. It does not have as many parts as the traditional ones do. There is only a knife-shape rod and a shuttle.


Question6:What are the weaving methods?

Answer: In weaving, we insert color yarn as warp and woof to form patterns when weaving. Now, we can hardly find some Truku cloth. On the white skirts, there are rhombus patterns. At present, plain (a kind of plain weaving methods) are mostly seen on the cloth woven by aborigines. TOP


Shan-ren Woodcarving Workshop (Mr. Chien Kuo-chang)

[Time]: 9:00am to 12:00pm, November 26, 2005
[Location]: Hong Ye Tribe (Shan-ren Woodcarving Workshop)
[Presenter]: Ho Li-chun
[Photography]: Lin Feng-mei
[Topic]: Traditional Truku Woodcarving


  In front of studio


Picture with Mr. Jian

Question 1: Why did you found this workshop?

Answer: At first, with the help of the community, the society, and the Council of Labor Affairs, the community sponsored a woodcarving seminar two years ago. My two friends and I signed up for the course. At first, there were about 30 students. After elementary, intermediate, and advanced training we graduated. So we three founded this workshop. We just called it “Shan-ren Workshop.”


Question 2: Why did you learn woodcarving?

Answer:I wanted to learn woodcarving just because I thought it was part of my culture. And there were not many Truku woodcarvings. Grasping this chance, I wanted to blend our traditional culture into woodcarving so that our descendants could inherit this treasure.


  Sculpturing tools



Question 3: What kind of qualities are needed in order to become a woodcarver?

Answer: It needs plenty of imagination to learn woodcarving. Also, he or she has to understand the theme deeply in order to create touching works. Then, he or she should endure loneliness because wood is our only friends when carving.TOP


Community Development Association (Mr. Lin Rong-huai)

[Time]: 9:00am to 10:00am, December 11, 2005
[Location]: Hong Ye Tribe (Community Development Association)
[Presenter]: Lin Feng-mei
[Photography]: Huang Su-hua
[Topic]: The Future of Hung Ye Tribe


  Explanation given by Director Lin



Question 1: How should we help construct our tribe?

Answer: Hong Ye Community is the southernmost community of Wan Rong Township (aborigines’ township). 3km west of Tai-Route 9, Rueisuei, Hua-lien County Government is planning to build Rueisuei New Hot Spring District (about 500 hectares of it is in Rueisuie Township and 360 hectares of it in Hong Ye Village, Wan-rong Township). So the entire Hong Ye Community will be included in it. Also, most of the important hot springs are in Hong Ye. Now the community has come to a consensus: to develop the place into a hot spring leisure and sightseeing zone. In addition to natural resources – hot springs, we should demonstrate the salient features of our regional culture (aboriginal songs, dances, handicrafts, food, etc) in order to continue the traditional aboriginal culture. Therefore, we always sponsor some cultural activities with the purpose of continuing our ethnic group. With these activities, we also plan to show the community’s energy. So we can activate the community and attract more visitors to improve the operation of our community organization and promote our living standard.


Question 2: Do we have special tribal products?

Answer: There is a Hong Ye River (one of the three origins of Hsiukuluan River) in our community. It is the junction of Ya Yun Gi Youn and Ya Youn Da Sil. Especially, Ya Yun Gi Youn, its water is clean and clear, with many preserved fishes in it. In addition, our community is going to found a river protection association in order to protect the fishes and give them the best environment for sustaining growth. In March and April, it is the time for our community to harvest bamboo shoots. The bamboo shoot harvesting period is one of the most important activities in our community. By that time, we can see people sitting in front of their houses peeling the bamboo shoots skillfully. It looks easy, but actually it is quite difficult. For inexperienced people, they may cut their fingers from time to time. When the people are busy peeling bamboo shoots, they are chatting happily too. Laughter is everywhere. Perhaps it is because our people work in a happy environment, our bamboo shoots are exceptionally tender and tasteful. Of course, it is our special farm produce.


  Front Entrance of the Community Development Association


Craft Display Windows of the Community Development Association

Question 3: What is our tribe’s vision?

Answer: Why don’t we try to answer our own questions? What are Hong Ye Tribe’s opportunities for further development in the future? Our consensus is the sightseeing business. But we believe we should consider both the tribal culture and the tribal economy together. We should develop and explore our regional economy and develop our regional business so that we can find the best way for our land to have sustainable development. It is the way we can make our homeland live forever.TOP


Hong Ye Tribe (Granny I-Wan)

[Time]: 6:00pm to 9:00pm, January 8, 2006
[Location]: Hong Ye Tribe (Granny I-Wan’s home)
[Presenter]: Ho Li-chun
[Photography]: Hong Tsai-shia
[Topi]: History of Hong Ye Tribe’s Migration


  Singing Folk Tunes


Telling Ancient Stories

Question 1: Where were we from?

Answer: Japan launched the greatest war in 20th Century Taiwan – the “Japanese-Truku Battle.” The Japanese called it the “Truku Expedition.” The Japanese sent 22749 soldiers with advanced weapons to attack the Truku from the east and west of Hualien. At that time, Truku had only 2500 warriors to resist their invasion. As we did not have many warriors and they had many soldiers, our tribe’s people were almost wiped out. Later, the Japanese forced our tribe to move to different places separately. Therefore, the groups gathered together and became Hong Ye.

Hong Ye belongs to the Torok Clan of Seedig Tribe. When we first moved here, our tribe’s people mostly settled down by the left bank of Hong Ye River to the West of Rueisuei on the slope south of Hu-tau Mountain. People called us the Hong Ye Tribe. A small number of us lived on the slope of Ti-chia Mountain near the Hong Ye Hot Spring now. Therefore people called it “Sibao.” The late comers were the people from Mahowan and Dan Clan of Bunun Tribe. They lived at the eastern corner of Hong Ye Tribe.

Therefore Hong Ye is made up of Sibao, Leshao, I-po, Waheier, and Silaq clan, including a small number of people from Kelan Clan.TOP


Question 2: Where are the clans of our tribe settled now?

Answer: 1. Teka-daya: Jen-ai Township (Wu-she, Mei River, Chin-liu, Chung-yuan), Shlin Township (chia-shan ), Wan-rong Township (Chien-ching, Wan-rong)

           2. Tudda: Jen-ai Township (Chin-ying, Chuan-yang), Cho-lan River (Li-shan, Lun-shan)

           3. Truku: Jen-ai Township (Song-lin, Lu-shan, Chin-kuan), Shiu-lin Township, Wan-rong Township, Cho-shi Township (Li-shan), Chi-an Township (Ching-feng, Nan-hua, and Fu-shin)


Question 3: What are the differences between the tribe now and then?

Answer: The living environment of the tribe is much better than that in the past. Back then, I lived on the top of Tien-shian Mountain. No matter whether it was freezing or snowing, we had to tolerate the gusts, wrapped by a piece of cloth only. Also, we did not wear any shoes or socks. Sometimes, we had to spend about an hour to walk barefoot to our neighbors.

When the Japanese first came to Hong Ye Tribe, some people from Amais and Bunun lived here. As we had many people, we had to explore the land ourselves to satisfy the tribe’s needs. At the time, the place where the school and community are was a piece of waste riverbed. I was 12 then. We had to flatten the land by filling the holes with mud by hand to make it inhabitable. It was hard.TOP


Community Development Association (Granny Li)

[Time]: 9:00am -11:00am, January 21, 2006.
[Location]: Hong Ye Tribe (Community Development Association)
[Presenter]: Li Wei-chie
[Photography]: Hsu Hao-wei
[Topic]: Truku’s Lifestyles, Face Tattoo, and Headhunting


  Telling Ancient Stories


Taking notes seriously

Question 1: What is “coming out of grass”(head huntin)?

Answer: Why did people headhunt? In the tradition, in order to become a man, he had to hunt an enemy’s head before you could have your face tattooed. Just like Truku woman. It she could not weave, she could not pass the legendary “rainbow bridge.” The ancestors’ spirits would not guard over her.

In the past, when the women were cutting millet in the field, there must be men guarding on every side because people from other tribes might come down from the mountain suddenly to hunt people’s heads. If somebody saw people from the other tribes, he would cry out loud. Then all the tribe’s people would come for help and drive them away together.

When the men returned from hunting, they had to cry out loudly so that the women at home would come and welcome them back. If some men came back with hunted heads, the women had to prepare special tradition clothes and put it on for him. Then, they would put the heads one by one at home and eat them with wine and sang for them. If you were not pious enough, the heads would be angry. They would jump down and roll on the ground. If you put them back, they would get mad and stare at you.


Question 2: Why should we tattoo our face?

Answer: A long, long time ago, the Truku’s ancestors thought if any misfortune happened to the tribe, they worshipped the unnamed gods and offered them people’s heads as a sacrifice. Then, they could get away from the disasters. However, once they went down the mountain to hunt people’s heads (“coming out of grass”), they hunted the tribesman’s head. Then, they thought if they tattooed their faces, they would not hunt the wrong people anymore.

Truku people began to tattoo their foreheads when they were 5 to 10. For men, when they were 16 to 20, they would have their cheeks tattooed. For women, when they were 14 to 18, they began to have their faces tattooed. They did so to tell people that they were adults. Nobody would marry the women that did not wear any tattoos on their faces. The same with men. Nobody would want to marry them, if they did not wear any tattoos on their faces. If their face was tattooed, they could participate in all kinds of open activities. People would expel those without tattoos on their face.TOP


Question 3: How was life like in the mountains at early times?

Answer: In the past, our staple food was sweet potato, millet, and taro’s stalk. When we harvested in summer and autumn, we would bury the sweet potato in the soil. When winter came, we would dig them up and eat them. The meat we ate was the animals we hunted.

In the past, we lived on the apex of Hohuanshan. We didn’t wear any shoes. As it was very cold, we always curled up together. We didn’t have any quilt back then as well. We used traditional ramie cloth and beast skin to keep warm.


Question 4: Are we related to Tayal?

Answer:There is not any blood relations between the clans of Tayal but they have the same ancestor.


Question 5: Do the Truku have witchcraft?

Answer: In the past, when people were sick, they wizard would use millet to cure their diseases. They would chant some spells too. If the disease was very serious, they wizard would put a piece of cloth on the ground and put some special herbs on it. Then, he would use the newly heated lime sacks as pads and place them on the patient’s wounds. According to legend, it could cure all kind of diseases. The sacrifices included millet (often used), chicken, ducks, and pigs (the biggest ones).TOP


Tadao Beilin Workshop for Woodcarving, Weird Stone, and Special Wood (Mr. Wan)

[Time]: 9:00am to 11:00am, January 22, 2006
[Location]: Hong Ye (Tadao Beilin Workshop)
[Presenter]: Yen Shih-chiang
[Photography]: Hsu Hou-wei
[Topic]: Traditional Truku Carving


  Wood Sculpture (Sharing)


Wood Sculpture (Wusir Incident)

Question 1: Why did you take up woodcarving?

Answer: Sometimes, I asked myself how much I could remember about our culture. We don’t know how to speak our mother tongue. We don’t know how to play xylophone, sing Truku songs, weave, and we don’t even know anything about hunting customs. More terrible, the former Truku social organization – Gaya seems to be nothing to us. “Gaya” was the major support of Truku culture. But now what?

But when I came into contact with woodcarving culture, I would blend it with Truku culture so that people can understand our culture better. And we can develop it further.


  Wood Sculpture (Weaving)


Wood Sculpture (Rice Grinding)

Question 2: Do you create your works with aboriginal culture as your materials only?

Answer: My current works mainly focus on traditional culture. But I have other subject matters as well. Strictly speaking, I do not have any limitation. I have been caving for about 10 years. I entered some competitions with my works as well. And I won some awards. Sometimes, when I have inspiration, I will create any work by improvisation.




Certificate of Awards

Question 3 Are your works on sale?

Answer: From time to time, some visitors or friends come to ask for my works’ prices. But my works are not for sale. I like to collect them more than selling them. Especially, those works related to traditional culture, I apologize for not showing them to the public because they haven’t entered any competition yet. Because our Taiwanese friends are good at imitating. TOP