Outside Taitung's Immaculate Conception Church, more than two dozen painted wall panels depict scenes from the legendary and oral history of the Puyuma people, one of 16 indigenous ethnic groups recognized by Taiwan's government. As of June 2015, just under 13,500 Taiwanese were registered members of the Puyuma (sometimes called the Pinuyumayan) tribe.
Most of the pictures lack captions in Chinese let alone English, so working out what they represent is far from easy. The top image presumably shows a Puyuma elder telling a foreign priest about his tribe's traditions. The second picture, I'd guess, depicts part of the Puyuma's creation myth.
Does this show a forest fire that resulted from carelessly roasting a pig? Typhoons and earthquakes are the most common natural disasters to afflict Taiwan, but serious forest fires do occur from time to time.
Here, a Puyuma brave fights a bear. Oddly, the animal doesn't resemble a Formosan black bear (Ursus thibetanus formosanus), Taiwan's only ursine species.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Oral history of the Puyuma people
Posted by Steven Crook... at 5:19 PM
Labels: aborigines, art, history, Taitung, things that aren't in the guidebook
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