President Tsai Ing-wen encouraged the people of Taiwan to deepen their understanding of traditional facial tattoo practices adopted by the country’s Atayal, Seediq and Truku tribes, spotlighting government commitment to preserving diverse cultures of the country’s indigenous peoples Feb. 23.
Tsai made the remarks during a visit to the home of Ipay Wilang, the only remaining member of the Seediq with facial markings, in New Taipei City. The tattoos have been designated a national cultural heritage practice.
In a tweet on her official Twitter account, Tsai praised Ipay Wilang for devoting her life to preserving Seediq culture. Wilang’s contributions are a vital part of efforts to give Taiwan’s indigenous cultures and languages the respect they deserve, she said.
According to the PO, the visit reflects the president’s belief that the traditional practice is an important part of Taiwan’s cultural assets. Tsai also took the opportunity to wish Wilang good health and longevity, the PO added.
Other high-profile visitors included Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te and the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod.
Born in Hualien County’s Zhuoxi Township in eastern Taiwan in the early 20th century, Wilang was registered as a preserver of the country’s intangible cultural heritage by the local government in 2016.
In traditional Seediq customs, facial tattoos signaled adulthood, warded against evil and allowed people to pass into the land of the ancestors after death. They were awarded to a man after he protected the reputation of his group in battle against rival groups and to a woman after she earned recognition in weaving and farming.
Source: Taiwan Today (https://taiwantoday.tw/index.php)