Southeast Taiwan Loop – Arts and Culture in Taitung
The South Link Line is a scenic rail line running along the southern tip of Taiwan from Pingtung to Taitung. With picturesque mountain and ocean views along the line, the Taitung portion of the South Link Line passes through the townships of Daren, Jinfeng, Dawu, and Taimali. These four townships are home to various Taiwanese Indigenous tribes, such as the Amis, Paiwan, and Rukai. Apart from enjoying these four Indigenous townships’ rich cultural atmosphere, one can also admire the various public artworks on display. Numerous tourist spots such as Dawu Junior High, Nanhui Beach, and Yuan Ai Workshop are also spectacular places to experience and enjoy the scenery and unique culture of Taitung.
Jiao Glass Beads
Crystal clear and filled with magnificent vibrant colors, glass beads are one of the Paiwanese treasures. Each pattern in the glass beads represents a different meaning. These beads even represent social status in the traditional Paiwanese society. As one of the largest gathering areas for the Paiwan people, Taimali is the perfect location to come to learn about Paiwan culture. Come and visit Jiao Glass Beads in the Dawang Tribe to experience glass art.
Jiao Glass Beads is founded and run by a Paiwanese couple, Pinjun and his wife Chuxuan. The two hope to pass down the Paiwan glass bead craftsmanship but have also made breakthroughs in the traditional Paiwan totem and patterns. Their inspiration comes from their surroundings and lives and they create unique glass beads and patterns. With the addition of creativity, Jiao Glass Beads will create many possibilities for the glass bead craft.
When visiting Jiao Glass Beads, guests will get to admire exquisite handiwork and innovative glass bead designs. Don’t miss out on the highly-rated glass bead-making course. There’s no need to worry about not being able to pick up the craft as an instructor will be assisting you along the way. Students will learn to torch, shape, and color the beads. The process is fun and relaxing. Watching the beads come into formation in the flames has a mysterious healing effect. Besides, being able to wear the final product of your handiwork is quite satisfying. (photo credit: [email protected] Glass Beads)
Address: No. 170 Minquan Rd., Taimali Township, Taitung County
Phone Number: 0981-031-025
Hours of Operation: 12:00–18:00 (Reservation required for the bead-making course)
Webpage: Jiao Glass Bead Fanpage
Pacavalj Fabric Workshop
Daniao Village, also known as Pacavalj Tribe, is the largest Paiwan Tribe in the South Link. The tribe is a simple and humble village seemingly forgotten by the world sitting beside the mountains and ocean. Daniao Village isn’t plastered with traces of tourism, rather there are just the simple and bare necessities of life. It is the perfect place to enjoy slow living. If you happen to be taking a stroll through the village, why not visit Pacavalj Fabric Workshop and bring home a unique Paiwan bag along with the stories that go along with it?
Pacavalj Fabric Workshop’s fabric and knitted items have been dubbed the LV bags of the South Link by their customers. The value comes from the exquisite handiwork and the unique patterns, more importantly, the products showcase the determination to pass on the culture and the will to overcome all difficulties. The success of Pacavalj Fabric Workshop has witnessed the rise of the women in the tribe. Daniao Village has been facing the challenges of population loss and unemployment. The devastation of Typhoon Morakot only added to this struggle. To provide job opportunities for the women in the tribe, Xiaotong Wang teamed up with some partners and founded Pacavalj Fabric Workshop. The workshop creates traditional handicrafts, beginning from creating the patterns, designing, and tailoring, to sewing the final product. They have created their unique brand with an aboriginal twist to promote the culture and art of the tribe.
Pacavalj Fabric Workshop’s items are exquisite and practical. The products combine tradition with a modern twist, incorporating Paiwan totems and patterns. The finished product is vibrant and fashionable. The workshop can also make custom items to meet your needs. They offer tote bags, briefcases, pencil bags, make bags, and more. There are also exclusive items such as the Orchid Island bag, egg bag, and more. （Photo Credit：[email protected] Fabric Workshop）
Address: No. 292, Daniao Village, Dawu Township, Taitung County
Contact number: 089-792-151
Operating hours: 09:00–18:00 (Closed on Sundays)
Website: Official Website
Integrating Tradition and Creating Innovation: Bringing New Life to Wood Sculpture
When taking a trip to Taitung, besides enjoying all the wonderful gifts nature has to offer, it is also worthwhile to spend some time and get to understand the local culture. Enter the woods and visit the tribes here, prepare yourselves to be moved by the power of local art through Sapari’s wood sculptures.
Sapari Cultural Art Workshop is located in the Tuban Tribal Village. Paiwanese wood sculpture master Weiguang Chang has taken his father’s name “Sapali” and operates the workshop with his wife Jingying Hsieh. Chang inherited the intricate wood sculpting techniques from his father, the late national treasure Master Caibao Zhu. He uses the natural shape of the wood material, incorporating aboriginal elements, to create unique sculpture masterpieces that showcase the simple and rugged Paiwanese patterns. Using modern techniques, Chang also creates small works that can easily be incorporated into our daily lives such as shelves and tableware. Chang skillfully adds his personal touch and emotions into his works. His creation “Mountain Boar Carrying a Babe” for example, shows the reliance and trust between father and child. His work focuses on both traditions and innovation. Chang has also been working hard to establish his unique portfolio that goes beyond his father’s style.
Chang’s wife, Hsieh, runs a wedding consultation company. The company incorporates traditional Paiwanese culture into modern weddings to create a fusion between western and Paiwanese cultures. The company also frequently uses Chang’s sculpted creations in weddings to create businesses that support and help each other while also protecting the cultural heritage.
Phone Number: 089-761318
Address: No. 48-4, Neighborhood 3, Tuban Tribal Village, Daren Township, Taitung County
Dulan Low Carbon Camping Trip
The cooling and fashionable straw hat will give you a vacation vibe and is a must-have during the hot summer days. When you enter the Kakawasan Warehouse, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered a tribal-themed wonderland. The straw hats and artworks are not woven from the usual bulrush; rather, they have been woven from the locally grown shell ginger leaves. If you’re traveling through Taitung, you don’t want to miss this treasure trove full of culture and art.
The Kakawasan Tribe is the fruit of the Kakawasan Enriching Neighborhood Association. As the youth moved away from the tribes, only the elderly and children remained. To create jobs and sustainability for those who remained, a group of tribal moms gathered to promote the local industries, using their skilled shell ginger weaving techniques to create the Kakawasan “weaving village” brand.
Shell ginger is waterproof and mold-proof. It is a common natural resource used in the Amis’ daily lives and can be found used for weaving, insect repellent, cooking, and even as a building material for boats and houses. The tribal moms used their ancestor’s skills and wisdom, using the traditional weaving and tying techniques to create intricate, sturdy, items that can be used for a lifetime.
Besides straw hats, there are many handcrafted items that you can find here. There are shell ginger bed mats, shell ginger bags, and even shell ginger wine, and cosmetic and hygienic products made from shell ginger, the uses are creative and endless. The workshop located on Jilin Rd Section 1 in Taitung City. It is one of the shops that received bilingual training. The store’s history, product information, the creation process of the straw hat, and tribe tour have all been translated and presented bilingually so that the entire environment is foreigner-friendly. They will be able to gain a well-rounded understanding of the products and background of the store. They can also bring home a piece of their wonderful memories of Taitung through a gift at the store. （Photo Credit：[email protected]月桃部落石山倉庫）
Address: Warehouse 13, No. 191 Zhongxing Rd. 2nd Section, Taitung City, Taitung County
Phone Number: 089-238-042
Hours of Operation: 10:00–17:00
Adidan Cultural Museum
If you are making a trip down to Duoliang Station to take in the lovely Pacific blue, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit the Adidan Cultural Museum. You’ll see a collection of wood sculptures while getting to know a bit more of the unique culture of the Paiwan.
The Adidan Cultural Museum was renovated from the vacant Duoliang Elementary School building. “Adidan” means “friend of the land” in the Paiwan language and represents the Paiwanese spirit of viewing all things as equal. The Museum is an incubator for young aboriginal wood sculpturists, allowing people to revisit this lost art form to create local business opportunities as well as promote the tribal economy.
The Museum’s collection mostly consists of wooden tools used in daily life. Local sculpturists also display their artifacts periodically. Driftwood is provided by the Forestry Bureau which is used to create sculpted masterpieces by the sculpturists. Their work ranges from wooden cups, hog-shaped bookends, to tangrams. Visitors can even take a woodworking course.
Besides the wooden artwork, the Museum also has cross-stitch and glassworks on display. These clever and creative artworks are handmade by the women in the tribe. They incorporate the tribal totems which each have unique meaning and stories. Ask a staff member for more information.
Operation Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
Phone Number: 089-771-481
Address: No. 15 Neighborhood 2 Duoliang Village, Taimali Township, Taitung County
Taitung Design Center
The word for design in Chinese is actually a loan word from Japanese, which originally meant, “Set a target and then implement a plan to actualize its value.” This reminds us that when appreciating design, we shouldn’t merely focus on the finished product in front of us. We need to bring together an understanding of the original design concept and aesthetic taste. Taitung Design Center (TTDC) is Taiwan’s first arts space that combines design and county governance concepts. TTDC is positioned as an “Urban Proposal Center” that guides the public step by step along the process of participating in “Design Proposals.” This will connect Taitung in three ways: “Governance Concepts” of people and systems, “Natural Spaces” of people and the environment and “Urban Life” of people and community. These connections welcome everyone to explore the various possibilities of Taitung’s local creative life.
TTDC was formerly a train station, a railway police station and finally a visitor’s center. In 2018, it was transformed into the arts and culture hub that it is today. The center’s main hall acts as a symbolic “Urban Livingroom for Taitung” that is a space for holding exhibitions, lectures and meetings. The main hall’s patio faces the green space of the former railway, which is like someone sharing memories of the past and present as well as the convergence of old and new concepts. The center features a unique “Urban Kitchen” that welcomes government agencies and civic groups to discuss the future of urban spaces in a relaxed atmosphere through cooking and enjoying delicious food. Dining together allows Taitung to continue to grow and have the energy to improve. （Photo Credit：[email protected]）
Hours of Operation: 12:00-8:00 (Tuesday to Sunday); 12:00-9:00 (Thursday and Friday)
Address: No. 369, Tiehua Rd., Taitung City, Taitung County
Official Website(Open a new window)
Taitung Story House
The Continuing Story of the Taitung People — The Taitung Story House is Reborn
Earlier this year, the Eslite Bookstore in Taitung closed its doors for the final time. In its place, the Taitung Story House opened this September in its original location. The two-story building that houses the Taitung Story House is a renovated structure from the Japanese Colonial Period. After the closing of Eslite, the Taitung Government planned for the renovation of the old building into a bookstore-cafe with an artistic atmosphere and modern style.
The new Taitung Story House is bright and airy, infused with warm woody tones and verdant garden greenery. The bookshelves are stacked full of books of varying topics such as travel, culinary, health, as well as fiction & literature. Intertwining with the multitude of greenery in the bookstore, shopping around the Taitung Story House feels as if one is reading in a beautiful garden. With its large glass windowpanes and warming wood-tone interior, the Taitung Story House truly has the atmosphere of a booklover’s dream. It is here that one is reminded of a saying that goes “ Time spent reading is worth every second.” In addition to a cozy reading atmosphere, the bookstore also houses an art classroom with various courses for children and adults alike. With new courses every month, one can attend courses on various topics, including literary lectures, cloth dyeing, and children’s ceramics classes.
The first floor of the Taitung Story House consists of a general reading area, while the second floor is a cafe and parent-child reading corner. Sitting on a sofa in the second-floor cafe while cozying up with a nice book and listening to relaxing music is a wonderful and carefree way to spend the afternoon. If you order a cup of fragrant coffee or a light meal to enjoy while reading, you also get a 50NT discount on any book you purchase in-store!
Address: No. 478, Bo’ai Road, Taitung City
National Museum of Prehistory
( Photo:IG @cheng.hazel)
The National Museum of Prehistory consists of three parks: the main building of Kangle, Beinan Cultural Park, and Nanke Archaeological Museum (located in Tainan). The establishment of the museum originated from the accidental discovery of Taiwan’s middle and late Neolithic sites during construction work on the back of Taitung’s New Railway Station in 1980. It covers an area of more than 10,000 square meters, and was the home to about 2,000 tombs and more than 10,000 pieces of pottery and porcelain. Therefore, the government built a museum to preserve and study prehistoric culture.
The original site is not suitable for building, so the site that was chosen is located near the Kangle Station to collect and display a wealth of cultural relics in the Kangle Main Building. Displays are divided into permanent and special exhibitions. The permanent exhibition is like a three-dimensional knowledge treasure house, and the theme area is set to fully restore the evolution from ancient times to the present. It is simply an intellectual historical tour. As you walk into Beinan Cultural Park, you will enter a historic scene, and you will be greeted by prehistoric houses, Puyuma Juvenile Meeting Hall (Dakuvan), and the aboriginal houses area of the original proportions in the park. As you connect to the life experiences of ancient humans thousands of years ago through imagination, you will also be able to learn about the history and culture of the Beinan Cultural Park in the exhibition hall.
Kangle Main Building (closed, scheduled to open in 2021)
Contact number: 089-38-1166
Address: No. 1, Museum Road, Taitung City, Taitung County
Beinan Cultural Park
Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00
Closed Days: every Monday (open also on national holidays, supplementary holidays, and election days), Lunar New Years Eve, and New Years Day
Contact Number: 089-23-3466
Address: No. 200 Wenhua Park Road, Taitung City, Taitung County
Boting Art Center
Located between Zhongshan Road and Baosang Road in downtown Taitung, the Japanese-style buildings of the Baoding Art Center come into your view. Its simple nostalgic sense and quaint architectural style have often slowly attracted visitors without them knowing it. Boting Art Center has a history of nearly 85 years. It was completed in 1936. Its original site was the Taitung Street Chief Official House during the Japanese Occupation (the street chief was the head of the administrative region at that time). In 1999, the old building was revitalized by Taitung City Government, and renovated into a Taitung art venue.
This art center has six one-story wooden buildings, all which contain art galleries, performance spaces, art and literature information rooms, and a social room for arts groups. The center holds various art exhibitions from time to time. It boasts an artistic atmosphere. In addition to admiring art exhibitions, you can also take a closer look at the indoor layout, nostalgic furniture and furnishings of the revitalized Japanese architecture. Come here to experience the beauty of the harmony of life and art.
Opening Hours: 08:30~17:00
Closed Days: Monday, Lunar New Year and National Holidays
Ticket Price: free
Contact Number: 089-325301
Address: No. 184, Zhongshan Road, Taitung City, Taitung County
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