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Amis Salt Container

Tags: aborigine | Amis | utensil

Taiwan’s indigenous peoples made many of their everyday use items from local materials such as bamboo, wood, coconut shells and leaves. Among them, bamboo was the most widely used.


This is a bamboo container for storing salt. It measures 28 centimeters in height and 6.5 centimeters in diameter. In general, bamboo containers were made without lids, as most were used to collect water. In the past, the indigenous tribes did not have the technology for drilling wells, thus drinking water was obtained from a nearby river and carried in large bamboo containers on the back. Or bamboo was used to make pipes for sending water from an area of higher elevation to homes down below. Lidded containers were used to store goods and the purpose of the lid for this container was to keep the salt dry.

In general, salt containers were made by obtaining a section of bamboo with joints at the top and bottom. Usually, the outer part of the bamboo was trimmed away at the bottom while the inner part was trimmed away at the top, or just the opposite, the inner part was trimmed at the bottom, while the outer part was trimmed near the top. The purpose was to allow the top and bottom sections to fit together.

Salt containers were made in different sizes, some larger and some smaller. The length was determined by the distance between bamboo joints, and was usually around 12 to 30 centimeters with a diameter of around 10 centimeters. This salt container, at a diameter of only 6.5 centimeters, is considered relatively slender. Along the body of the container are strips of woven rattan. These were used to prevent the bamboo from cracking. The bamboo joint was used as a lid and was pared down to allow it to be inserted. This container shows traces of exposure to smoke, which was done to ward off insects.

This object was donated by Mr. Tsui-feng Shih. It was collected from the Amis tribe. The location from which it was collected is not clear.


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