My mission is to preserve the artisanal techniques of Taiwan’s indigenous tribes and strengthen their cultural heritage.
The indigenous tribes in Taiwan are the people originally lived in Taiwan before the Han people came into the soil in the year of 1949. Nowadays the population of indigenous people in Taiwan are 2% of Taiwan’s total populations, these includes fourteenth tribes with fourteenth different languages. (Originally Government only recognize nine tribes, now a lot of the tribes are fighting for their recognition) Each tribes have their own unique cultures and different rituals. One of the tribe called Thao (邵族) is the smallest population tribe in the world. Before they only have 283 people, now they have approximately 600 people. It is really important to pass on the tradition and the artisanal techniques, to help the indigenous people find their own cultural heritage and further strengthen it.
Through my research, I also found out every year approximately seven Typhoons would pass by Taiwan, through out the seven Typhoons normally half of them will be strong Typhoons. It will be strongly affect the communication between the tribes and the people from the outside. This is one of the possible opportunity point to help them by designing (with them together) an everyday life product that they use and will have multi function to help them get through the Typhoon seasons. The object will contain traditional craftsmanship and might have some technology. The object than might be an Universal Design that will further create a market for them.
People who are most affected by the issue of culture lost and technique lost are the people who are a part of the tribes. One of the really good examples will be the traditional glazed beads from Paiwan Tribe. The traditional beads are originally for the noblemen in tribes, people in the lower status could not wear them. Starting from 1900s large amount of ‘antique’ Paiwan beads were taken away by or sold to collectors. With almost no traditional beads left, Paiwan tribe was facing the crisis of not knowing how to make them, and it was difficult for them to do their traditional ceremonies. These further threatened and discontinue Paiwan tribe’s culture. Umass Zingrur, one of the people from Paiwan tribe saw the problem and wanted to restore the techniques; Zingrur start researching the patterns on the beads. Zingrur successfully brings back the traditional techniques of making glazed beads. Later on Zingrur further created a contemporary glazed beads line. I think what Umass Zingrur did was really interesting and important, but what I'm really concerned about is the lost of meanings through the people who buy the beads. Traditionally the glazed beads were important family heirlooms and have further meanings than what it is. I think to educate or to let the consumer know about the meaning of the beads is really important.