China History Images

30+ fascinating old pictures of Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples (graphic content)

Taiwan aborigines images. Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples have lived on the island for over 5500 years.

Related articles: 67 pictures of Taiwan under the Japanese rule, ‘South of Clouds’, a documentary about ethnic minorities in Yunnan

Taiwan was inhabited by aboriginal populations for about 5500 years in relative isolation before a Han immigration from mainland China began in the fifteenth century.

Indigenous peoples have both linguistic and genetic ties with Austronesian peoples, like other groups in Polynesia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and others.

The Taiwanese government officially recognizes 16 groups of indigenous peoples who mostly live in the interior mountainous regions of the country (Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Kanakanavu, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saaroa, Saisiyat, Sakizaya, Seediq, Taroko, Thao, Tsou, Yami). The indigenous peoples who live on the plains (Arikun, Babuza, Basay, Hoanya, Kaxabu, Ketagalan, Kulon, Lloa, Luilang, Makatao, Papora, Pazeh, Qauqaut, Siraya, Taivoan, Taokas), on the other hand, have undergone progressive sinicization which has often made identification difficult and since the fifteenth century, the impact with foreign peoples was substantial.

From the fifteenth century, Taiwanese Aborigines begin to be described by other peoples. From 1624, their lands were colonized from time to time by the Dutch, Spaniards, the Ming Dynasty, the Qing, the Japanese, and the Republic of China.

While from the beginning of the twentieth century, the peoples of the plains have been gradually assimilated into today’s Taiwanese culture, until the 1930s, mountain populations had lived in conditions of substantial isolation. With the Japanese and later with the Kuomintang, the authority’s control was extended over these regions.

The people of the plains lived mainly inside villages surrounded by defensive bamboo walls. The largest villages in the south of the island could accommodate up to 1500 inhabitants.

The Musha Incident, 霧社事件, began in October 1930 and was the last major uprising against colonial Japanese forces in Japanese Taiwan. Decapitated heads of surrendered rebels (Seediq of Mahebo, Boalun, Hogo, Rodof, Tarowan, Suku). They were protected near the Sakura police substation. But, in 25 April 1931, Seediq of Tautua (behind decapitated heads, they were one of the Mikata-Bans) assulted and beheaded them.

Many of the Plains Aboriginal societies were matrilineal societies. A man could marry a woman after a courtship period during which the woman was allowed to refuse as many men as she wanted.

During the 1930s, some mountain Aboriginal groups were at war against the Japanese authority. The Bunun and Ayatal were described as the most ferocious groups, and police stations were the preferred target of their assaults.

Although northern groups had been forced to hand over all weapons in 1915, headhunting and assaults on stations continued. Between 1930 and 1933 the Aboriginal armed resistance against the Japanese resumed, which culminated in some bloody episodes such as the Musha incident, where, following a revolt, called the Wushe Rebellion, the indigenous people Seediq attacked a village and killed over 130 Japanese.

In response, Japanese forces along with other Aboriginal allies in retaliation massacred more than 600 Seediqs using mustard gas in violation of the Geneva Convention. 500 Seediq survivors were confined to a village, and on April 25, 1931, the aboriginal allies of the Japanese attacked the village and beheaded all males over 15 years of age.

Many of the following images were taken by Scottish photographer and traveler John Thomson who visited Taiwan with missionary James Laidlaw Maxwell in 1871.

The second group of photographs depicts the everyday life of ethnic groups in Taiwan during the first decade of the 20th century.

The third group of images portrays Taiwanese aboriginal head hunters.

Taiwan aborigines images by John Thomson (1871)

Pepohoan, Baksa, Formosa (Male) age 36 years. Bears Thomson’s negative number: “778”
A Baksa woman and child, Formosa 1871. J. Thomson
Old Pe-po-hoan women, Lan-long, Formosa, John Thomson
Formosa [Taiwan], John Thomson
Baksa, Formosa [Taiwan]. Photograph, 1981, from a negative by John Thomson, 1871.
Pepohoan dwellings Formosa China Pepohoan house Bak-su, Formosa 1871 Huts Formosa native Pepohoan. Bears Thomson’s negative number: “410”
Pepohoan natives, Formosa, China. Bears Thomson’s negative number: “759”
A mother, wearing a hat and coarsely-woven dress, seated with her baby, also wearing a hat, on her lap in a sling. The left-hand frame is crossed through, 1871. Author: Thomson, J.
Lalung, Formosa [Taiwan]. Photograph by John Thomson, 1871. Lan-long valley.
A fishing party, near Lau-long, 1871. Native Pepohoans, Formosa. John Thomson
Formosa [Taiwan]. Photograph by John Thomson, 1871.
Young and old Baksa woman, Formosa, 1871. J. Thomson
Pepohoan male, age 36 years Baksa, Formosa, by John Thomson
Pepohoan girl, Baksa, Formosa, 20 years old
Pepohoan female, Baksa, age 30 years, John Thomson
Woman detail, from-Gochi, a Baksa girl 1871. J. Thomson

Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples (1900-1920)

Taiwanese Aboriginal male wearing a clouded leopard fur (presumably of the extinct subspecies Neofelis nebulosa brachyurus, Formosan Clouded Leopard, 台灣雲豹). This photograph by Japanese anthropologist Torii Ryūzō is undated, but was most likely created around 1900, when Torii was in Taiwan. Man’s tribal affiliation unknown. However, his facial features and hair style resemble those of people also shown wearing a similar fur, who are identified as Rukai 魯凱族.
Young Tsou girls from Ali Mountain, Taiwan, 1900
Taiwan Paiwan tribe female

and the colorized version we made:

Taiwan Paiwan tribe girl
Aborigines in Taiwan mountains, 1918. Author: Ernest Henry Wilson
Aborigines porters in mountain area Taiwan. 1910s
Taiwan Aborigines, Bunun Tribe, Formosa (c1900)
Families of the outer Truku chief-general and deputy chief-general
Taiwan aborigines images. Pro-Japanese aborigines assembly in the Musha incident (1931)

Taiwan aborigines headhunting (1930-1944)

The headhunting ritual of aborigines in Taiwan, before 1945
Taiwan aborigines headhunting. The headhunting ritual of aborigines in Taiwan. Author: unknown
Taiwan aborigines headhunting. The headhunting ritual of aborigines in Taiwan. Author: unknown
Taiwan aborigines headhunting. The headhunting ritual of aborigines in Taiwan. before 1945. Author: unknown
Taiwan aborigines headhunting. The headhunting ritual of aborigines in Taiwan. Author: unknown
Photo of drinking aborigines in Taiwan. before 1945. Author: Unknown
Taiwan aborigines drinking. Photo of drinking aborigines in Taiwan. Before 1945
Taiwan aborigines drinking. before 1945, Author: Unknown
Pepo aborigines. Photo of the Pepo aborigines in Taiwan under the Japanese ruling period.

Source: wikipedia 1,2,3, 4, wikimedia , 2 , taiwan aborigines images

Music in the video: “Ho a ing he yei yan”, Sacrificial Song, recorded in Taichung, 2007, Amis Tribe
The Digital Music Archive Project for Taiwanese Indigenous People music

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