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Paiwan Divination Pot

Tags: aborigine | Paiwan | pottery

Paiwan artist and researcher Pavavalung Sakuliu believes that ancient earthenware pots had several functions: 1. As ceremonial objects. They often held glass beads or offerings. 2. As betrothal gifts. These were often decorated with carved or raised patterns. 3. For fermenting of liquor. 4. For storage of grain, seeds, preserved meat or water. The Paiwan used dredredan as ceremonial objects and betrothal gifts, and these types of pots were considered very valuable. The origins of traditional Paiwan pots are unclear and the methods for making them are not included in the oral history of the tribe. Instead, these pots are often described as magically appearing and associated with legends of the origins of the tribe.

Sakuliu notes that traditional Paiwan earthenware pots symbolize “humans” with a head, neck and body. Each pot has different patterns and thus different meanings. This pot is referred to as “bina zangaan” in the Paiwan language. It has a short neck and flat body. It measures 23 cm horizontally and 21 cm vertically with an opening 6 cm in diameter. There is a profusion of decorative patterns. Sakuliu believes that this type of pot was used by shamans during divination rites. The term “bina zangaan” refers to an earthenware pot with a refined neck. Another name for this pot is “davadavagen” which means to “embrace in one’s arms”.

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