Fri, May 04, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Miaoli unveils documentary on Atayal facial tattoos

By Chang Hsun-teng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang, center, helps Atayal elder Lawa Toyu, second left, cut a Mother’s Day cake in Taian Township on Monday.

Photo: Chang Hsun-teng, Taipei Times

Facial tattoos were a living tradition of the Atayal people, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said on Monday as he invited Atayal elder Lawa Toyu to view a county government-funded documentary about her life, adding that he hoped it would help the public understand the importance of such cultural heritage.

Lawa Toyu is one of only two Aborigines — the other is Lin Chi-mei (林智妹) — who have facial tattoos, following the death of fellow Atayal Iwan Kaynu in January and Ipay Haron of the Truku community in February.

Lawa Toyu was born in 1923 in what is now Taian Township (泰安), and at the insistence of her maternal grandfather, who was then leader of the community, she was tattooed on the face in line with Atayal tradition, despite a ban against such practices by the Japanese colonial government, Miaoli County Culture and Tourism Bureau Director-General Lin Yan-fu (林彥甫) said.

She currently resides with Wang Po-yuan (王伯元), one of her daughter’s children, he said.

Aside from registering facial tattoos as intangible cultural assets, the county government also applied for Executive Yuan funding to establish a countywide archive of the life story and photographs of each Aborigine with facial tattoos.

It contracted the Aboriginal Arts and Handicraft Association to produce a 22-minute documentary about Lawa Toyu and Iwan Kaynu, Lin Yan-fu said.

The documentary, titled Marks of Glory — The Facial Tattoos of the Atayal (榮耀的印記─泰雅文面), was screened at the township’s Meiyuan Elementary School, with Lawa Toyu, Hsu, Taian Township Mayor Liu Mei-lan (劉美蘭) and county councilors among the audience.

The county government also held an early Mother’s Day celebration for Lawa Toyu after the screening.

Students from the school sang Aboriginal songs, while Hsu and other county officials provided a birthday cake and cards.

This story has been viewed 2344 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top