Articles

Enter the Natives

In Museums, Taipei, Taiwan, Updates on August 7, 2011 by triotriotrio

Four Figures

Four Figures from the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park

I still love the blockbuster – encyclopedia museums of the world but lately I have been drawn to ones that have a more defined story to tell. Defined should not be interpreted as “lesser” it is only to say that not all museums can be all things to all people. After all there are only a handful of British Museums, Metropolitans and Louvres.

Taipei is best known as the home to the National Palace Museum. And believe me when I say this museum is a gem that should not be missed. But near the Palace Museums sits another cultural institution, the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, whose mission is to tell the story of the native people of Taiwan. I found in this museum touches on the familiar and inspires a desire to learn more about is subject.IMG_1892 For example, the native people of Taiwan may have more in common with people from New Zealand than Mainland China.

I quickly learned that the story of the native people of Taiwan is not unlike the tale of those of Native Americans or the Aboriginals of Australia. These are people who through the years have been faced issues of discrimination, assimilation and extinction. But in the end they have endured to keep their traditions alive in an ever-changing modern world.

Sheng Ye Museum-- Reflections of Aboriginal CultureThe museum is divided into different sections that illustrate the different cultural techniques such as building homes, pottery, clothing and fishing. And the museum also touches on the issues of language and faith. Time and time again I could draw similarities between tribal groups of North America in the way information was presented.

Once again I have learned the important lesson that the further one travels from home, the more one discovers that home is never that far behind.

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