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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 4:21 pm 
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Location: Formerly Taipei -Taiwan, now Shanghai - China
China considering the Taiwan aborigines/Austronesians (yuanzhumin as they are named in Taiwan) as some of its national minorities (in China, they are called gaoshanzhu), I would be interested in knowing if there is any of their textiles or artifacts exhibited in Chinese museums ?

In other word, is there any textiles/artifacts from Taiwan aborigines in mainland China ? Did you see any ?

I read recently that a Chinese tribal art museum opened one or two years ago in Shenzhen ? Is it true ? And that there is 10 000 objects from Chinese national minorities referenced in its collection, but none are from the Taiwan Austronesians ?

For the one interested, I just updated my collections website with 6 new items, among them a ceremonial collar from the Paiwan and a cap from the Atayal.

Nicolas
www.formosatribal.com [Nicolas, I have just edited this for you - you could have done so yourself by, when logged in, clicking the edit button at the top of the post. Pamela]


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 12:54 am 
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Location: Formerly Taipei -Taiwan, now Shanghai - China
Sorry, I'd like to correct a little mistake in my previous message.
The correct address of my website is :
www.formosatribal.com
Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 3:46 pm 
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Nicolas,

Based on the (very) few exhibits on minorities I have seen here on the mainland, I cannot say I have seen any Gaoshan pieces included. This is not very surprising however, as there seems to be a general lack of interest from the general population overall in regards to minorities, except when it comes to tourism, entertainment, or general kitsch.

I don't get the feeling that this attitude is changing all that quickly either. In the major bookstores, the only section in which you will find any material related to the minorities is in the travel section. The Ethnic Culture park in Beijing is a horribly condescending and borderline racist amusement park (incidentally, the original English translation was "Racist Park"). It seems that the only time attention is paid to the minorities is when they (or more likely Han entertainers dressed up in pseudo-minority clothing) are paraded on television variety shows in an attempt to show diversity.

While China has come a long way in certain respects, there is still much work and education to be done when it comes to accepting and respecting their fellow countrymen.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 1:45 pm 
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Hi JT_BJ

Thanks for your answer.

Concerning the museums here in Taiwan, there is not one big national museum dedicated to the aboriginal culture. Quite a few museums have aboriginal artifacts in their collections, but usually much of their collections are not exhibited or if they are, they are often badly displayed. There are few artifacts abroad, and the country that has the most is Japan, as it was a former colonial power. That’s why I would like to know if there is anything in China. I’ve seen recently a Chinese book with some textiles from the Taiwan aborigines, called ‘gaoshanzhu’. I wanted to have a more precise opinion about the pieces the Chinese have collected and where they are exhibited as I may go to China for a trip soon.

To give you some more brief facts about the aboriginal people here, in Taiwan :

1- Here also there is a lot of despise for the minorities/aboriginal people, even if it is not as much as before. Their social and economic situation has improved a lot but is not yet as good as the general population. For example, their hope of life is usually 20 years shorter than for the average Taiwanese population.

2- In the past, from 1895 to 1945, aboriginal people were educated to be good Japanese citizens. Then after 1945, they were asked to be good Republic of China citizens. They had to learn Japanese, then Chinese. They were given Japanese names then Chinese names.

3- Recently, after the aboriginal rights movement of the 1990s, after the lifting of the martial law, their situation improved. They were officially called aboriginal people and not anymore a derogative name that is ‘mountains compatriots’. They were given the right to change their name to an aboriginal name, and their languages are now taught now at public school. The choice of a second local language is now obligatory. They are also benefiting from a positive discrimination that help them enter university or have public servants jobs.

4- During the 8 years that Chen Shui-bian was in power, the aboriginal roots of the Taiwanese were put forward, as the aboriginal patrimony and culture. Unfortunately, it was quite superficial, folklorised and used often for political purposes.

5- There are some autonomy movements among some tribes that want to be given more rights on their traditional territory.

6- Recently, few more tribes were officially recognized as fully distinct tribes. This is a way to correct some old mistakes done during colonial time by then ethnologists, but it is also unfortunately a way to stimulate some kind of political ‘clientelism’ on a local point of view. The questions of who will have the control over the money through the public budgets and allowances is never far away.

7- If aboriginal population is only 400 000, what means they are representing only 4 or 5% of the total Taiwan population, it is proven through ADN analysis that 80% of the 23 millions Taiwanese population today has some aboriginal blood/ancestry at diverse degree.

8- Called gaoshanzhu in China, they are called here yuanzhumin. They are Austronesians and Taiwan is the craddle of the Austronesian civilization that spread in the Pacific area.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 6:01 pm 
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aargh...now, Nicolas, I understand your use of your forum name, yuanzhumin....

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 3:23 am 
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Nicolas,

I think you would be very hard pressed to find collections of Gaoshan textiles in any museum here on the mainland. The Gaoshan living on the mainland number less than 5,000, making them one of the smallest minorities. Also, they are not concentrated in any one area, but are spread out through the major cities.

Ethnic museum collections are usually built upon material available in the immediate surrounding area. As the Gaoshan do not have a large presence anywhere on the mainland, it would be very difficult for an institution to build up a collection.

That being said, based on a quick internet search, it looks like Fudan University in Shanghai does have a permanent exhibition of Gaoshan clothing and artifacts, based entirely on the donated collection of one of its professors. It is purported to be the largest collection of Gaoshan material on the mainland, consisting of over 400 pieces. Unfortunately, all the references seem to be in Chinese.

Other universities, such as the Central University of Nationalities in Beijing would probably also have examples of Gaoshan material, but nothing that could actually be called a collection.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:16 am 
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Sorry for this late answer, but I'm just back from a trip abroad.

Yes, Pamela, that's the explanation for the name Yuanzhumin.

For JT_BJ, thanks for your precious infos.
I have also received some infos from a well connected source that is roughly confirming what you say concerning the Taiwan aboriginal collections in China. Here is what he told me :
- Fudan University has some +/- 100 pieces
- The Xiamen Museum has +/- 200 pieces
- The Shanghai Museum has some.
- Some also in a University Museum located in Beijing and specialised on the minorities
In all, may be 500 pieces. That is not much, and I guess mostly textiles.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:36 pm 
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this what i actually heard from the Research Fellow in Linguistics at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra


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 Post subject: Ikat textiles in Taiwan?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:23 pm 
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Hi all, Does anyone know if the ikat dyeing technique is or ever was used in Taiwan? Have you seen any ikat textiles from Taiwan? I live in Japan and don't remember ever seeing or hearing of any exhibitions of Taiwanese art. If there are major collections here they sure keep them hidden away. Thanks in advance, MAC


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:52 pm 
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As I wrote in the other thread, there is no tradition of Ikat making in Taiwan, up to my knowledge.

But I have also to say that I saw some Ikats from Taiwan ! Let’s go back to the 1930s. Then, the Japanese, that were the colonial masters of Taiwan from 1895 to 1945, pushed the aborigines to develop commercial and farming activities in order not to have them go back to their weapons. That’s how in the 30s was developed among aboriginal villages a handicraft industry that survived the Japanese in the fifties and the sixties. At that time, the clients were not anymore the Japanese colonial public servants but the many American soldiers stationed in the island till the end of the Vietnam war. That’s when some Ikats were produced on the island, in a fusion tribal style, and sold as authentic ethnic items when they were only commercial contemporary products.

To answer to the other question : there are exhibitions of Taiwanese aborigines items but, it’s true, they remain rare outside of Taiwan. In the island, you have few museums showing their material culture. Outside of the island, there are few Taiwanese austronesian items in museums worldwide : for example, there is a nice big ancestor pillar displayed as a masterwork in the Louvre, in Paris. In Shanghai, where I live, few items are shown on the 4th floor (Minorities exhibition hall) of the famous Shanghai museum. But the best/biggest non Taiwanese collections are shown in Japan (yes, where u live, Mac) in the ethnology museum of Osaka and at the Tenri University museum, which has the biggest collection outside the island. Don’t forget that the Japanese stayed 50 years on the island and that their anthropologists were the first to penetrate the Formosan head hunters territories.

And if you want to know more, you can always go onto my website ( www.formosatribal.com ) where you will find many infos on the bibliography, museums and else concerning these people. Also there, you will be able to see my collection of Taiwanese aborigines items which is, as far as I know, the one of the biggest in the world :-) I specially put it all online to promote the Taiwanese aboriginal culture that I love and that is vastly ignored and unfairly neglected all around the globe.


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