Fine Taiwanese Aboriginal / Paiwan Art

Before the Han Chinese immigrated to the island of Taiwan (also known as Formosa Island) the aboriginal people or tribes were scattered around the island (including the Orchid Island off the South-eastern tip of Taiwan) Research suggests that their ancestors have been living in Taiwan for at least 6,000 years.

The Taiwan indigenous tribes whose languages and cultures are related to those of other indigenous Island Southeast Asian groups as well as the peoples of Polynesia and Micronesia.

There are 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes in Taiwan: Amis, Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun, Puyuma, Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Yami, Thao, Kavalan, Truku, Sakizaya, Sediq, Hla’alua and Kanakanavu.

The Paiwan are one of several indigenous peoples living the mountainous interior of Taiwan. Paiwan 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 Paiwan 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.

The Hundred-Pacer Snake (Agkistrodon acutus) which is an important clan motif seen on many of their artworks & utilitarian objects is one of the major characters in Paiwan mythology, and it is generally considered to be the pro-creator of the nobles.

Paiwan artists achieved some of their most refined expressions of the human form in the creation of personal accessories, their use of highly stylized human images and snakes on knife sheaths and other articles was restricted to members of the high nobility.

At Oceanic Arts Australia we will show you some beautiful and rare artworks from the indigenous peoples of Taiwan & you can see for yourself the beauty of their art and their connection to the Pacific Islands Cultures.

If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

To see many more rare items and the finest masterpieces, please make an appointment with us to visit the gallery.

For all enquires, please contact Todd Barlin, Director of Oceanic Arts Australia

 Phone(61 2) 9328 2512
 mobile(61) 409 560 316
 Gallery Location64 Elizabeth Street, Paddington, NSW, 2021, Sydney, Australia