Tribal Art of Taiwu Township, Taiwan

Taiwan. The Republic of China. Formosa. All three names describe the same island.1 But before the island was settled by Han Chinese or colonised by Europeans, it was inhabited by aborigines. Taiwanese aboriginal people are genetically related to the native peoples of Malaysia and Polynesia—and their hostility to outsiders limited direct colonisation until the 16th century. The aborigines still survive, and number about a half million, living mostly in the central mountainous counties of present-day Taiwan, where they have a rich history of beautiful tribal decoration. We can see many of their towns on Google Street View, but…

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