by Lin Hsin-Chen
Life is a combination of numerous coincidences. When I completed the 6 challenge, I shared the idea of making a quilt with my collection of old traditional fabrics with my friends. Then, I received our 7 challenge, “Image from Tradition”. What a great coincidence! Thank you Misik for giving me this incredible opportunity!
I attended an opening ceremony of a cultural exhibition at a museum in Taiwan on March, 24th. The theme was “The Vanishing Culture of Taiwanese Aborigines - The Pingpu Tribe”. The exhibition introduces the people who lived in Taiwan Island around 4 to 5 thousand years ago. The people are what we called “The Pingpu Tribe” today. Their traditional culture and customs are replaced by the Han Chinese culture gradually in the recent 4 hundred years. Many of the valuable antiques are also taken away from Taiwan by the new residents. Many of the exhibits displayed in the exhibition are from overseas. It’s nice to see them “coming back” to Taiwan again. I am especially attracted by the fiber and costumes of Pingpu people, so I decide to do some research about them.
The Pingpu people use natural plant fibers, such as cotton and linen, to make their clothes. They use waist looms to weave. Plaid is the most common pattern they use, and natural dyeing colors such as red, yellow, green, purplish blue, orange…etc are common to see. The most gorgeous costumes of Pingpu people are usually decorated with delicate brocade. The handmade techniques present the simple and pure lifestyle at that time.
I was born and grown up in Taiwan, but it’s my first time seeing the primitive culture. I’m so touched and feel very lucky to experience the vanishing culture. All the photos posted here are not the antiques of thousand years ago (but 400 years ago), because I can’t take photos of the oldest antiques. They are too old to be attacked by flashlights anymore.
To be honest with you, the exhibition changes my original design plan for the 7th challenge. My plan of challenge 7 now remains unknown.