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Rukai Men's Long Shirt

Tags: aborigine | clothing | Rukai

Variations in clothing of the Rukai tribe depend on the occasion and the age of the wearer. Clothing was decorated with patterns that were based on social class. In general, married women and the elders of the tribe tended to wear clothing simpler in style than unmarried women and younger members of the tribe.

Rukai women made use of weaving, embroidery, applique and beading. The cross stitch was the most common embroidery method and red, yellow and green were the most common colors. Embroidered patterns were created on separate pieces of cloth and then sewn onto the clothing. In applique, symmetrical, brightly colored pieces of cloth were used to form a pattern. The Rukai preferred black, blue or green as the background color of their clothing with white applique patterns. Beading was done using orange, yellow and green beads, preferably on black or dark blue background.

Cross-stitch embroidered patterns are mostly symmetrical and continuous, and feature geometrical shapes such as rhombuses and octagons. Many patterns are inspired by those found on the hundred pace pit viper, which is a source of inspiration shared by the Bunun tribe. Straight-stitch embroidered patterns are mostly mosaic, triangular and curved line patterns. Satin stitch patterns are mostly rhombuses and waves. Applique patterns usually feature human heads, human figures and snake patterns. There is more creative freedom in beaded patterns, such as an abstract human head with feathers.

This shirt measures 129 cm horizontally and 44 cm vertically. It was often worn by males of the Rukai tribe. It is made from black cotton cloth with long sleeves and a round collar in the style of Chinese jackets. In the center is a rectangular piece of cloth that has been sewn on to which the closures are attached. There are two closures with two pairs of orange, green and yellow beads and a pair of white buttons.

Embroidery in cross stitch and straight stitch, as well as beading and applique are in evidence. Colors include red, yellow, green, orange and dark green. A number of beads, measuring 11 to 12 cm, were stitched on around the collar and cuffs. At the 32 to 32.5 cm area there are metal pieces that serve as decoration. Between the collar and metal pieces is cross-stitch embroidery. Along the left and right sides of the shirt cross-stitch embroidered appliques were mainly used.



Department of Graphic Communications and Digital Publishing, Shih Hsin University Digital archiving project of the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines