The Aboriginal Crafts of Taiwan -- Pottery

Art in Objects from Daily Life

By Museum of Ethnic Cultures, Minzu University of China

Museum of Ethnic Cultures, Minzu University of China

Pottery Bowl 2 (Collected by the musuem in the early 1950s, it was most likely used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries)Original Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

Pottery
In the past, most tribes in Taiwan, except the Atayal and Saisiyat, made pottery, however, this was only done using simple tools, such as wooden pottery pat, bamboo knife, cobblestone, dustpan and basket. However, after the industrial products were commonly used in Taiwan, only the Tao (Yami) people still make potteries for daily usage. Pottery producing is a sacred job, people make sacrifices before commencing, and there are taboos all through the process. 

Pottery Pot (Collected by the musuem in the early 1950s, it was most likely used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries)Original Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

This kind of pottery is mainly owned by the aristocracy of the Paiwan and Rukai, and is handed down from generation to generation as heirlooms.

Pottery Pot (Feature) (Collected by the musuem in the early 1950s, it was most likely used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries)Original Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

There are many legends about the powers associated with these vessels. This kind of pottery is divided into three kinds: feminine, masculine and dual-sexed pottery.

Pottery Pot (Collected by the musuem in the early 1950s, it was most likely used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries)Original Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

Masculine pottery is carved with snake pattern and the feminine one is carved with snail pattern, while the dual-sexed one has both patterns on it. This pottery was mainly used for religious rituals. They were considered important betrothal presents and tokens for the royal families. Only the royalty and brave warriors were allowed to own it, to show their high status. As a valuable heirloom, it is usually kept in a special place of honor in the home.

Pottery Bowl 1 (Collected by the musuem in the early 1950s, it was most likely used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries)Original Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

Most tribes in Taiwan, except the Atayal and Saisiyat, made pottery, however, this was only done using simple tools, such as wooden pottery pat, bamboo knife, cobble stone, dustpan and basket.

The pottery making process begins with the choosing of soil and materials, then mashing, shaping, and finally drying in the shade and firing.

Pottery Pot with Rattan Net and Handle (Collected by the musuem in the early 1950s, it was most likely used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries)Original Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

Pottery Pot with Rattan Net and Handle
This vessel was collected by the musuem in the early 1950s, it was most likely used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Note the area on the rattan handle that has been polished smooth from repeated use.

Clay Figurine (Collected by the musuem in the early 1950s, it was most likely used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries)Original Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

The Tao(Yami) people who live on the island of Lanyu likes making clay figurines. The subjects mainly include people, pig, sheep, cow, marine creatures and small boat… things that they are familiar with in daily life.

While craftsmen making potteries, they make clay figurines like this as toys for kids. From today’s point of view, these are not only kid’s toy, but also artworks with a touch of sincerity.

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