Pottery, whether in the Rukai or Paiwan, is an important symbol. The Rukai believe that their own ancestors were born in clay pots. They see clay pots, as “divine pots”. To the Paiwan, clay pots are not only where ancestral spirits reside, but they are deeply related to history, beliefs and cultures.
But how are clay pots made?Where do the material come from?Can ordinary mud and sand be made into pots?What details do they need to pay attention to?
In this episode, we visit a Paiwan pottery expert, and we learn each step of its production.Through experimentation, we also find out the different characteristics of clay and sand.
For Atayal living by the river, the hongu (temporary bridge) is an excellent way to travel between villages.In the past, Atayal men hunt for a living. In order to ensure that women can pass rivers safely to forage, the men of the village work together to build temporary bridges, which also helps with gathering water.
The Atayal temporary bridge used bamboo, crape myrtle, vines, and grass fern as materials, but due to different environments, the bridges differ from place to place.But how did they build temporary bridges, and what scientific principles are used?
In Mudan Township, Pingtung County’s Tungyuan Village, sits a prairie as far as the eyes can see. This paradise is a vast wetland, and a favorite for many ecologists. Year-round, the grass is green and grows knee high, offering a very rich wetland ecosystem.Walking in the swamp grasslands, one can feel that its water under the grass, yet it’s like walking in a prairie that shakes and gradually sinks.It feels like walking on a matress.How did this large grassland on water form?Why won’t people walking on it fall in?
Ptasan, or facial tattoos, has different patterns due to different tribes. U shaped patterns belong to the Sediq and the Truku. The V shape belongs to the Atayal.
Traditional tattoo methods differ from modern methods in that modern tattoo equipments are electrical. They use medical grade stainless steel for their needles. After disinfecting it, they would seal the package. Once it’s used, the equipment would be discarded. In the past, the dye is a mixture of pine charcoal, so there is only one color. Now, using various plants, a wide variety of colors are available.
Facial Tattoo is the most important cultural representation for the Atayal, Sediq, and Truku. In the traditional cultures of these tribes, facial tattoo identify the wearer’s tribe, age, and abilities. For boys and girls, they could get their tattoos on their foreheads at the age of 5. As for men’s chin tattoo and women’s cheek tattoo, they are only available once the person has become an adult. In the past, the standard for adulthood is that a woman must be able to weave, and a man must be able to hunt and has headhunted.
Facial tattoo is applied by a tattoo master. The tattoo tool is a set of brush-shaped needles or the thorn of a plant. The coloring is a mixture of pine charcoal.
In the past, every Thao family has at least one canoe. Private homes use small canoes while the community uses large canoes. The canoe is the transportation most representative of Thao culture. It is made of a camphor wood split down the middle. Because of its oil and the natural cent that fends off insects, camphor wood is the ideal choice.
What scientific principle is behind the Thao canoe? What games are the children going to play in this episode?
Due to the geographical conditions, in Central Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake, fishing involves setting a net at sunset, about 5 or 6. A light by the net attracts the fish. Before the sun comes up the next morning, fishermen would row out in their canoes to catch the fish.
In the Bunon tribe, there is a traditional fishing method that uses the tremor of rocks to disorient fish in the rocks. Because of the immense sound produced by the clashing of two rocks, the sound wave can make the fish dizzy, and the Bunon can easy catch the fish.
The Fata’an tribe of Hualien, Taiwan live in an area far from the sea with small rivers. Because of the Fata’an wetland, the indigenous people of the tribe developed a sustainable way of fishing called palakaw, or fish house.
Palakaw is a structure with three stories. The first story composes of bamboo tubes, the second level consists of wooden sticks. Vegetation would grow on the third level. Different kind of fish could live comfortably in each level. When people want to eat fish, they would only need to reach in.
Because of the terrain, indigenous peoples of the mountains move everything by hand. Therefore, the women developed the method of carrying things on their heads. Walking up and down the mountains require one to shift their body weights differently. What is the best way to walk up and down a mountain when carrying things on your head? Which way should they shift the center of gravity?