Carved Panel Paiwan Rukai Tribe Southern Taiwan:The Todd Barlin Collection
|Size||Height 169cm x 40cm wide|
This fine Carved Chief’s House Panel from the Rukai People of Southern Taiwan / Formosa Island. This superb carved Chief’s House Panel is made from a single large piece of hardwood. The ancestor figure is carved in high relief represents a Rukai Chief who is wearing an elaborate headdress made from deer horns & feathers, he is standing and holding a sword in left and hand just below his elbow is a wild boar. In the other hand he is holding yams, both wild boars and yams are important food sources for the Rukai/
This carved panel tell part of a story of the history of the Rukai Clan that it belonged to.
The Ruki are one of several indigenous peoples living the mountainous interior of Taiwan. Rukai society is hierarchical, divided into high nobles, minor nobility, and commoners. In former times, only the high nobility was entitled to create or commission certain forms of human images, which portrayed important ancestors (tsmas). The ancestors, whose supernatural influence was controlled by the nobility, had the power to either help or harm the community, depending on whether their spirits received proper respect through ritual observances and offerings. The houses of Rukai nobles were both the physical and artistic centres of ancestral power and imagery. The remains of noble ancestors were buried within the houses of their descendants, and their images adorned the doorways, house posts, and other architectural elements. This impressive House Panel likely once adorned a house of a Rukai noble family.
The traditional Rukai house is an asymmetrical, gabled building made of slate and wood. Slate slabs are used for walls, roofs, sleeping platform, benches, and all pavements inside and out. Wooden parts include posts, beams, ridge pole, rafters, and doors. The most luxurious residences of chiefly households have carvings on the wooden eave-beams, doors, screens, main posts and even walls.
The Rukai people honour the mainland clouded Leopard and the hundred Pacer Snake which they believe to be the spirit of their ancestors.
This superb House Panel would date from the early 20th Century. You can see the age of this artwork in the photo of the back of the panel you can see it was rough hew by hand and it has very old patina.
Provenance: This Lintel was acquired by expats living in Japan in the early 1950’s along a few other Paiwan & Ruki carvings.
The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic and Asian Art
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