Twenty Aboriginal artists from around the country were honored at a ceremony yesterday by the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) for their handicrafts.
From 123 artists who entered handicrafts, 20 were selected for their works' "marketability, creativity and originality," said Lin Chin-hung (林錦宏), director of the Taiwan Handicraft Promotion Center and one of 11 judges.
"In addition to strong Aboriginal cultural elements in these works, they're innovative," council deputy minister Hsu Ming-yuan (徐明淵) said.
Most of the artists' inspiration came from their tribal cultures, especially mythology.
"I got my inspiration from a myth in Savakan, a Puyuma community in Taitung," said Ijianq Kadadepan, one of the 20.
Ijianq's work is a brass statue of a naked, headless man and woman entwined in antlers.
"Legend has it that long ago, a princess of Savakan fell in love with a deer," Ijianq said.
As the deer went to the millet field near the princess' house, her father, the chief of the village, killed the deer without knowing it was his daughter's lover, he said.
"The father hung the antlers on a wall, but the princess shed tears every day when she saw the antlers, until one day she ran into the antlers and killed herself," Ijianq said. "The story has become a kind of symbol of Savakan, and that's why I chose to use it as the theme of my work."
Dilesmo, of the Rukai tribe, decided to remember the history of her people and her village through a tapestry.
"My people moved four times in their history; they originally came from the Kindoor Mountain," Dilesmo said, pointing at the mountains at the top of her work. "They finally arrived here," she said, pointing to a village.
On one side of the village is a scene from the harvest festival; the other is the gate to the village with tribal totems on top.
"The hundred-pacer snake and the urn are symbols of the nobility in our culture," she said.