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Woman of the Atayal

The Atayal ( Chinese  泰雅族 , Pinyin Tàiyǎ zú ), also known as Tayal or Tayan , are the second largest of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan (after the Amis ). They speak a Formosa language with 32 dialects. The meaning of the word "Atayal" is "real man" or "brave man".

According to official statistics, the number of Atayal in April 2016 was 93,032. Most of them live in the northern part of the Taiwanese Central Mountains and make up almost a quarter of all indigenous peoples in Taiwan. A significant place in their settlement area is Wulai in the south of the city of New Taipei . The Truku and Sediq peoples, who formerly belonged to the Atayal, have been officially recognized as independent ethnic groups since 2004 and 2008, respectively.

Popular myth of the origin story

According to the traditional folk history of the Atayal, their earliest ancestors were a girl and a boy who lived together for a very long time and during which they gradually became adults. The two fell in love, but the shy young man did not dare to approach her. So the young woman used a trick: she left the house and collected coal in the forest, with which she could blacken her face so that he would not be recognized by him. After seven days she went back into the house and the shy boy saw her as a different woman. A short time later, the couple had offspring and, according to this story, laid the foundation stone for the people.

It is believed that the traditional custom of the face tattoo is based on this genesis and the cunning of women.

Individual evidence

  1. Website of the Council of Indigenous Peoples , accessed on May 25, 2016 (Chinese)
  2. Truku , Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous Peoples ( Memento of the original from December 4, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Sediq recognized as 14th tribe , Taipei Times, April 24, 2008