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Date: 2015/09/22

Museum of Anthropology Welcomes Paiwan Spirit Pillar in Symbolic Wedding

  • The Paiwan spirit pillar on display at the Museum of Anthropology.

    The Paiwan spirit pillar on display at the Museum of Anthropology.

  • NTU holds symbolic wedding to welcome Paiwan ancestral pillar

    NTU holds symbolic wedding to welcome Paiwan ancestral pillar

  • NTU President Pan-Chyr Yang speaking at the wedding ceremony.

    NTU President Pan-Chyr Yang speaking at the wedding ceremony.

  • The wedding ceremony followed that of the Paiwan tradition.

    The wedding ceremony followed that of the Paiwan tradition.

  • Minister of Culture Meng-Chi Heng.

    Minister of Culture Meng-Chi Heng.

  • The wedding ceremony followed that of the Paiwan tradition.

    The wedding ceremony followed that of the Paiwan tradition.

  • The event featured traditional games and festivities.

    The event featured traditional games and festivities..

  • The event featured traditional games and festivities.

    The event featured traditional games and festivities.

  • The event featured traditional games and festivities.

    The event featured traditional games and festivities.

  • The symbolic matrimony was celebrated with a wedding banquet.

    The symbolic matrimony was celebrated with a wedding banquet.

The NTU Museum of Anthropology hosted a tradition wedding ceremony on September 12 in a symbolic ritual to officially welcome a spirit pillar of the indigenous Paiwan tribe to the University’s collection.

The spirit pillar is one of five ancestral posts that belong to the Paiwan Chief Zingrur (金祿勒) family of the Kaviyangan village (佳平舊社). The pillar, which is a four-sided wooden carving bearing human features, has been part of the NTU museum since it was collected by Taihoku Imperial University (NTU’s Japanese predecessor) 80 years ago.

Earlier in March, the pillar was registered and proclaimed as a national treasure by the Ministry of Culture’s Bureau of Cultural Heritage. As one of the four-sided figures is believed to belong to a female ancestor named Muakai, members of the Zingrur family proposed that a ceremony simulating a traditional Paiwan wedding be held as a symbolic gesture to officially present Muakai as new bride to the museum, as well as to celebrate its new status as a national treasure.

The wedding ceremony followed that of the Paiwan tradition with ceramic pots, glass-beaded necklaces, and eagle feathers being presented as dowry to the groom. It also featured a tribal feast, a wedding banquet, and a bamboo swing game.

Meanwhile, the tribe plans to create a replica of the ancestral pillar to be placed in their village with plans to welcome back their ancestral spirit in the future.

The unique ceremony demonstrates the continuing creativity and vitality of indigenous communities to transmit and enliven their cultural traditions. While the symbolic matrimony marks a significant milestone in NTU’s preservation of the nation’s cultural heritage, it is also exemplary of the University’s sustained efforts to collaborate with indigenous communities in Taiwan.

For more information, go to the Museum of Anthropology Facebook page.

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