BANGKOK (CNA) — An exhibition of Taiwan’s Atayal and Paiwan indigenous culture kicked off at the Museum Siam in Bangkok on July 18. Titled “Tattoo Color, Tattoo Honor,” the exhibition features the tattooing art of the Atayal and the Paiwan, with “Face and Body” as its main theme.
The exhibition includes rare photographs depicting the life stories of tribal elders, along with tattoos, tattooing tools, designs, wood carvings and a Paiwan tattooist of the early 20th Century, according to National Taiwan Museum, the co-organizer of the exhibition.
Atayal Lihang Workshop founder Baunay Watan said that facial tattoos are a projection of the Atayal people’s view of life, values and the universe, where men must be courageous in battle and hunting, while women must be proficient in weaving in order to be eligible for marriage.
Facial tattoos are also believed to allow the bearers to be recognized by their ancestors in the afterlife, he said.
However, as tribal elders with facial tattoos pass away, Baunay Watan said, the culture of tattoos might be forgotten.
According to Angusan Palivulj of the Paiwan, who is also the village chief of Nanhe village in Pingtung, Paiwan tattoos are not only pretty patterns, but also denote a sense of honor, serving as a symbol of status in the community.
The exhibition will run until Oct. 27.
By Lu Hsin-hui and intern Tiffany Chiu