"Below-Waist Accessories” for Taiwanese Aboriginal Clothing

Tags: aborigine | accessory | clothing

Below-waist accessories for Aboriginal clothing can be categorized into waist (hip) accessories and leg accessories. The waist accessories include belts, waist bands, waist bells, waist knifes and front covering cloth. Many aboriginal tribes in Taiwan did not wear pants; simply wrapping a piece of cloth around the waist and then having a front covering cloth. For the Saisiat Tribe, waist bells stand out amongst all waist accessories. Waist bells are also called tabaa`sang; meaning “it rings when you move”. These are wrapped around the waist and then making loud ringing sounds when dancing. These waist bells were the most important musical instrument for the Pass-taai Festival (festival for the short people).
Leg accessories include leggings, shell-bead strings, glass-bead strings and bells. Leggings are also called the cloth that protects legs, and were mainly wrapped around calves for both males and females.
Relevant collections for “below-waist accessories” for Taiwanese Aboriginal Clothing
內容發展分項計畫 人類學主題小組
English Name: Cloth boots
Tribal Name: DUKABE
  • Theme and key word: Tribe: Rukai
  • Description: Usage: Female garment. Content Description: Traditionally, the Rukai Tribe placed many restrictions on females. These restrictions are evident in the clothing. The female body was covered as much as possible, including the feet. Cloth boots were worn as an alternative to wrapping calves with cloth.
  • Data Identity: Catalog Number: 3582

English Name: belt
Tribal Name: paid
  • Theme and key word: Tribe: Tao (Yami)
  • Description: Usage: Women in charge of weaving will wrap the belt around the waist, and place the two ends of the string on the two ends of the fabric roll, and weave by tightening and loosening the warp. Content Description: When weaving, women sit on the floor, stretch both legs straight out against the “pakedked so cinon” (pedestal), and strap the belt around the waist, place the two ends of the string on the two ends of the fabric roll, and weave by tightening and loosening the warp.
  • Data Identity: Catalog Number: 3445

English Name: Male waist band
Tribal Name: lunaning na uqaljai
  • Theme and key word: Tribe: Paiwan
  • Description: Usage: Male use. Content Description: Paiwan males are used to wearing skirts to cover the lower part of the body; therefore, the waist band is used to tightly wrap the pantskirt around the waist.
  • Data Identity: Catalog Number: 3167

English Name: Leggings
Tribal Name: pacinoken
  • Theme and key word: Tribe: `Amis
  • Description: Usage: Recently, people of the `Amis tribe usually wear leggings more for ritual purposes. Leggings were worn in the past to protect legs from being cut when working. However this is no longer the practice. Originally made from leather, leggings are now made with exquisite embroidery on fabric as part of the ritual clothing in today’s society. Content Description: These types of clothing are called leggings. They were originally worn to protect legs from being cut while working. For the males, the leggings extend all the way from the calves up to the waist and are commonly known as pants that open in the back. Women’s leggings only go up to the calves. Traditionally men may start wearing leggings when they reach adolescence, while women must start wearing leggings when reaching adolescence. Formerly, leggings are worn to protect the legs when working; therefore they should be made from animal skin. More recently, they are usually decorated with embroidery, becoming an essential element of `Amis traditional clothing.
  • Data Identity: Catalog Number: 3252

  • Theme and key word: Taiwanese Aborigines
  • Description: Atayal called all belts and waist bands “habok”, and their brocade decorations differ with community and region. For the Bei-shih Community along the upper reaches of Da-an River, decorations for brocade waist bands focused on the center and two ends. To put it on, start from the back and wrap it around to the front. Then tie a knot in front of the abdomen, with the center pattern surrounding the waist, and both ends draping down naturally with decorative patterns. This type of waist band is made from a long thin piece of white ramie fabric, with tassels on both ends. The center part and both ends were weaved with red, blue, yellow and green yarn to produce beautiful geometric patterns. In addition to strapping the waist band around the waist over skirts, robes or capes, brocade waist bands are also occasionally used as knife straps. They are slung diagonally across one shoulder, and tied below the armpit on the other side. Original Description: Waist band, white ramie fabric, patterns on both ends and center part weaved with red and navy blue threads.
  • Data Identity: Specimen Number: 193

  • Theme and key word: Taiwanese Aborigines
  • Description: The male front covering cloth commonly seen on Atayal men is a piece of long cotton fabric. This fabric was obtained from the Hans through trade and wrapped around the waist with a knot tied in front of the abdomen then leaving the remaining fabric to drape down naturally for coverage (Ino Kanori 1896, Dongren 122:304). However, this piece of front covering cloth collected is a special specimen. It’s a long rectangular piece of light brown, hand woven coarse linen. A piece of thin linen string has been attached to the upper rim on both sides. To put it on, the thin string was tied into a knot around the waist with the piece of linen draping down the front for coverage. Shell beads were stitched along the rim of the fabric, and thin stripe patterns of blue yarn were woven along the upper rim. According to research conducted by Ho Ting-jui, this garment was worn with full attire by Atayal head-hunting warriors (Ho Ting-jui 1953:27). “Aboriginal Customs Investigation Report” recorded it as “habok ungi” (Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology 1996:87); “Aboriginal Customs Investigation Report” recorded its Bei-Shih Community name as “oyul” (Ykichi Sayama 1918:257).
  • Data Identity: Specimen Number: 226

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