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Title: Among the Head-Hunters of Formosa

Author: Janet B. Montgomery McGovern

Author of introduction, etc.: R. R. Marett

Release date: December 16, 2016 [eBook #53746]

Language: English

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(See page 149.)




Diplomée in Anthropology, University of Oxford

R. R. MARETT, M.A., D.Sc.




First published in 1922

(All rights reserved)


W. M. M.


“No human thought is so primitive as to have lost bearing on our own thought, or so ancient as to have broken connection with our own life.”

E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture.



To treat her as a goddess has always been accounted a sure way of winning a lady’s favour. To the cynic, therefore, it might seem that Mrs. McGovern was bound to speak well of her head-hunting friends of the Formosan hills, seeing that they welcomed her with a respect that bordered on veneration. But of other head-hunters, hailing, say, from Borneo or from Assam, anthropologists have reported no less well, and that though the investigators were accorded no divine honours. The key to a just estimate of savage morality is knowledge of all the conditions. A custom that considered in itself is decidedly revolting may, on further acquaintance with the state of culture as a whole, turn out to be, if not praiseworthy, at least a drawback incidental to a normal phase of the ruder life of mankind.

The “grizzled warrior,” we are told, who made oblation to our authoress, bore on his chin the honourable mark of the man-slayer. To her Chinese coolie that formidable badge would have been enough to proclaim the wearer seban—the kind of wicked animal that defends itself when attacked. Thus, if it merely served to warn an[10] invading alien to keep his distance, this crude advertisement of a head-hunting habit would be justified, from the standpoint of the survival of the hard-pressed aborigines. Even had a threat of cannibalism been thrown in, its protective value could hardly be denied; for, much as men object to be killed, they commonly deem it worse to be killed and eaten. Though reputed to be man-eaters, however, the savages of Formosa are not so in fact. Indeed, the boot is on the other foot. I remember Mr. Shinji Ishii telling us at a meeting of the Folk-lore Society that, despite their claim to a higher form of civilization, the Chinese of the adjoining districts will occasionally partake of a head-hunter, chopped up small and disguised in soup: the principle implied in the precaution being, I dare say, sound enough, namely, that of inoculation, though doubtless the application is unfortunate.

Meanwhile, head-hunting has for these wild-folk a function and significance that are not to be understood so long as we consider it as a thing apart. The same canon of interpretation holds good of any other outstanding feature of the social life. Customs are the organic parts of a body of custom. To use a technical expression, they are but so many elements composing a single “culture-complex.” Modern research is greatly concerned with the tracing out of resemblances due to the spread of one or another system of associated customs. The method is to try to work back to some ethnic centre of diffusion; where the[11] characteristic elements of the system, whatever might have been their remoter derivation, have been thoroughly fused together, in the course of a long process of adaptation to a given environment. Thereupon it becomes possible to follow up the propagation of influence as it radiates from this centre in various directions outwards. Now it may well be that the tradition rarely, or never, is imparted in its entirety. Selection, or sheer accident, will cause not a little to be left behind. On the other hand, the chances are all against one custom setting forth by itself. Customs tend to emigrate in groups. Thus head-hunting, and a certain mode of tattooing, and the institution of the skull-shelf, and the requirement that a would-be husband must display a head as token of his prowess, are on the face of them associated customs, and such as are suited to have been travelling companions. Hence it is for the ethnologist to see whether he cannot refer the whole assortment to some intrusive culture of Indonesian or other origin.

Yet lest one good method should corrupt the science, we should not forget that there is another side to the study of culture; though from this side likewise there is equal need to examine customs, not apart, but in their organic connexion with each other. Whencesoever derived, the customs of a people have an ascertainable worth here and now for those who live by them. The first business, I should even venture to say, of any[12] anthropologist, be his sphere the study or the field, is to seek to appreciate a given culture as the expression of a scheme of values. Every culture represents a set of means whereby it is sought to realize a mode of life. Unconsciously for the most part, yet none the less actually, every human society pursues an ideal. To grasp this ideal is to possess the clue to the whole cultural process as a spiritual and vital movement. The social inheritance is subject to a constant revaluation, bringing readaptation in its train. There is a selective activity at work, and to apprehend its secret springs one must keep asking all the time, what does this people want, and want most? unconscious though it may largely be, the want is there. Correspondingly, since it is a question of getting into touch with a latent process, the anthropologist must employ a method which I can only describe as one of divination. He must somehow enter into the soul of a people. Introjection, or in plainer language sympathy, is the master-key. Objective methods so-called are all very well; but if, as sometimes happens, they lead one to forget that anthropology is ultimately the science of the inner man, then they but batter at a closed door.

A sure criterion, then, by which to appraise any account of a savage people consists in the measure of the sympathy shown. A summary sketch that has this saving quality will be found more illuminating than many volumes of statistics. Literally[13] or otherwise, the student of wild-folk must have undergone initiation at their hands. Having become as one of themselves, he is qualified to act as their spokesman, putting into such words as we can understand the felt needs and aspirations of a less self-conscious type of humanity. Here, for instance, Mrs. McGovern, though writing for the general public, and reserving a full digest of her material for another work, has sought to present an insider’s version of the aboriginal life of Formosa. She was willing to become an initiate, and did in fact become so, almost overshooting the mark, as it were, through translation to a super-human plane. So throughout she tries to do justice to the native point of view. She says enough to make us feel that, despite certain notions more or less offensive to our conscience, the ideal of the Formosan tribesman is in important respects quite admirable. He is on the whole a good man according to his lights. Allowance being made for his handicap, he is playing the game of life as well as he can.

Having thus dealt briefly with principles of interpretation I perhaps ought to stop short, since an anthropologist as such has nothing to do with the bearing of his science on questions of political administration. Mrs. McGovern, however, has a good deal to say about the means whereby it is proposed to convert head-hunters into peaceable and useful citizens. Without going into the facts, upon which I am incompetent to throw any fresh[14] light, I might venture to make some observations of a general nature that depend on a principle already mentioned. This principle was, that to understand a people is to envisage its ideal. The practical corollary, I suggest, is that, to preserve a people, one must preserve its ideal so far as to leave its vital and vitalizing elements intact. In other words, in purging that ideal, as may be done and ought to be done when it is sought to lift a backward people out of savagery, great care should be taken not to wreck their whole scheme of values, to cause all that has hitherto made life worth living for them to seem cheap and futile. Given sympathetic insight into their dream of the good life—one that is, probably, not unlike ours in its main essentials—it ought to prove feasible to curtail noxious practices by substituting better ways of satisfying the same needs. Contact with civilization is apt to produce among savages a paralysis of the will to live. More die of depression than of disease or drink. They lose their interest in existence. Their spirit is broken. When the policy is to preserve them, the mere man of science can lend a hand by pointing out what indeed every experienced administrator knows by the time he has bought his experience at other people’s expense. Given, then, the insider’s point of view, a sense of what the savage people itself wants and is trying for, and given also patience in abundance, civilization may effectively undertake to fulfil, instead of destroying.

R. R. Marett.



Among the Head-hunters of Formosa contains the substance of observations made during a two-years’ stay in Formosa—from September 1916 to September 1918. The book is written for the general reader, rather than for the specialist in anthropology or ethnology. Hence many details—especially those concerning minor differences in manners and customs among the various aboriginal tribes—have been omitted; for these, while perhaps of interest to the specialist, would prove wearying to the layman.

Inadequate as the treatment of the subject may seem to the anthropologist, I venture to hope that such information as the book contains may stimulate interest, and perhaps encourage further investigation, before it is too late, into the tribal customs and habits of a little-known, and rapidly disappearing, people.

A writer—signing himself “P. M.”—discussing the aborigines of Formosa, in the China Review (vol. ii) for 1873, says: “Decay and death are always sad sights to contemplate, and when decay and death are those of a nation or race, the feeling is stimulated to acuteness.[16]

If this feeling in connection with the aborigines was aroused in a European resident in Formosa in 1873, how much more strongly is this the case to-day—nearly half a century later—when the aboriginal population has dwindled from approximately one-sixth of the population of the island (an estimate given by Keane in his remarks on Formosa, in Man Past and Present) to about 3 per cent. of the entire population—a decline of 15 per cent. in less than fifty years. Under the present system of “benevolent assimilation” on the part of the Japanese Government the aboriginal population seems declining at an even more rapid rate than it did under Chinese rule, which ended in 1895. Hence if the mistake which was made in the case of the Tasmanians—that of allowing them to die out before definite or detailed information regarding their beliefs and customs was gained—is to be avoided in the case of the Formosan aborigines, all anthropological data available, both social and physical, should be gained without further delay. Up to this time apparently but little has been done in the way of scientific study of these people, in spite of the fact that, as Keane points out, Formosa “presents a curious ethnical and linguistic connecting link between the continental and oceanic populations of Asia.”

Dr. W. Campbell, writing in Hastings’ Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics (vol. vi) remarks: “The first thing to notice in making any statement[17] about the savages of Formosa is the extreme paucity of information which is available.” If anything which I—the first white woman to go among certain of the tribal groups of these savages—am able to say will make less this “extreme paucity of information,” then I shall feel that the time spent in writing this book has not been wasted.

I must add that I am deeply indebted to Dr. Marett, of Oxford, who most kindly read the greater part of the book in manuscript form; and again in proof.

Janet B. Montgomery McGovern.

Salzburg, Austria.
March 1922.


Among other valuable suggestions, Dr. Marett has called my attention to the fact that the word “caribou” (sometimes spelt carabao) is used in this book to describe an animal other than the American reindeer. It is quite true that no dictionary would define “caribou” as meaning the hideous, almost hairless, beast of the bovine species used in certain parts of Indonesia for ploughing the rice-paddies, and whose favourite recreation—when not harnessed to the plough—is to lie, or to stand, buried to its neck in muddy water; yet this beast is so called both in the Philippines and in Formosa; that is, by English and Americans resident in these islands. By the Japanese the animal is called sui-gyu; by the Chinese shui-niu (as nearly as the sound can be imitated in English spelling); the characters being the same in both languages, but the pronunciation different.

In connection with the pronunciation and the English[18] spelling of Chinese and Japanese words, the spelling is of course phonetic. This applies to the names of places, as well as to other words. As regards Formosan place names, the difficulty of adequate transliteration is aggravated by the fact that the Chinese-Formosans and the Japanese, while using the same written characters, pronounce the names quite differently. In spelling the names of places, I have followed that system usually adopted in English books. There can, however, be no hard and fast rules for Sino-Japanese spelling; therefore the Japanese gentleman to whom I am indebted for the map who has spelled Keelung with a single “e,” is quite “within his rights” from the point of view of transliteration.

J. B. M. M.



PREFACE pp. 9-14
Scepticism regarding the Existence of a Matriarchate—Glimpse of Formosa from a Steamer’s Deck in passing—Hearsay in Japan concerning the Island Colony—Opportunity of going to Formosa as a Government Official pp. 27-35
The Voyage from Kobe to Keelung—The History of Formosa as recounted by a Chinese-Formosan—A Visit to a Chinese-Formosan Home—The Scenery of Formosa—Experience with Japanese Officialdom in Formosa pp. 36-68
[20]A New Year Visit to the East Coast Tribes—Received by the Taiyal as a Reincarnation of one of the seventeenth-century Dutch “Fathers.” pp. 69-85
Hakkas and other Chinese-Formosans, Japanese, Aborigines pp. 86-92
Physical Appearance pointing to Indoneso-Malay Origin—Linguistic Evidence and Evidence of Handicraft—Tribal Divisions of the Aborigines—Moot Question as to the Existence of a Pigmy People in the Interior of the Island pp. 95-108
Head-hunting and associated Customs—“Mother-right” and Age-grade Systems—Property Rights—Sex Relations pp. 109-129
[21]Deities of the Ami and Beliefs of this Tribe regarding Heaven and Hell—Beliefs and Ceremonials of the other Tribes of the South—Descent from Bamboo; Carved Representations of Glorified Ancestors and of Serpents; Moon Worship; Sacred Tree, Orchid, and Grass—The Kindling of the Sacred Fire by the Bunun and Taiyal Tribes—Beliefs and Ceremonials of the Taiyal—Rain Dances; Bird Omens; Ottofu; Princess and Dog Ancestors—Yami Celebrations in Honour of the Sea-god pp. 130-151
The Point of View of the Aborigines regarding Sex—Courtship preceding Marriage—Consultation of the Bird Omen and of Bamboo Strips as to the Auspicious Day for the Wedding—The Wedding Ceremony—Mingling by the Priestess of Drops of Blood taken from the Legs of Bride and Groom; Ritual Drinking from a Skull—Honeymoon Trips and the setting-up of House-keeping—Length of Marriage Unions pp. 152-162
Belief that Illness is due to Evil Ottofu—Ministrations of the Priestess—A Seventeenth-century Dutch Record of the Treatment of the Dying by the Formosan Aborigines—The “Dead Houses” of the Taiyal—Burial of the Dead by the Ami, Bunun, and Paiwan Tribes beneath the Hearth-stone of the Home—“Green” and “Dry” Funerals pp. 163-172
Various Types of Dwelling-houses peculiar to the Different Tribes—Ingenious Suspension-bridges and Communal Granaries common to all the Tribes—Weapons and the Methods of their Ornamentation—Weaving and Basket-making—Peculiar Indonesian Form of Loom—Pottery-making—Agricultural Implements and Fish-traps—Musical Instruments: Nose-flute; Musical Bow; Bamboo Jews’-harp—Personal Adornment pp. 173-185
[22]Cutting away of the Lobes of the Ears and knocking out of the Teeth—Significance of the Different Designs of Tattoo-marking among the Taiyal—Tattooing among the Paiwan pp. 186-192
Ami Wheeled Vehicle resembling Models found in early Cyprian Tombs—Boat-building and the Art of Navigation on the Decline. pp. 193-197
“Decadent” or “Primitive”—A Dream of White Saviours from the West pp. 198-199
To “wonder furiously”—Better Government, or Worse?—Comparison of Standards—A Conversation with Aborigine Friends—The Question of Money—Tabus pp. 200-215
INDEX pp. 217-220









Scale 1:2,000,000. Heights in feet




Scepticism regarding the Existence of a Matriarchate—Glimpse of Formosa from a Steamer’s Deck in passing—Hearsay in Japan concerning the Island Colony—Opportunity of going to Formosa as a Government Official.

As to the actual existence of matriarchates I had always been sceptical. Matrilineal tribes, and those matrilocal—that was a different matter. The existence of these among certain primitive peoples had long been substantiated. But that the name should descend in the line of the mother, or that the newly married couple should take up its residence in the tribe or phratry of the bride, has not of necessity meant that the woman held the reins of power. Quite the reverse in many cases, as actual contact with peoples among whom matrilineal and matrilocal customs existed has proved to every practical observer.[1]

Those lecturers in the “Woman’s Cause” who[28] boasted of the “great matriarchates of old” I thought weakened, rather than strengthened, the cause they would advocate by attempting to bring to its aid evidence builded on the sands. The great “matriarchates of antiquity” I was inclined to class with the “Golden Age” of the Theosophists, as representing a state of affairs not only “too good to be true,” but one in which the wish was—to paraphrase—father to the belief. And as to prehistoric matriarchates, representing a highly evolved state of civilization—in anything like the present-day significance of that word—I am still sceptical; as sceptical as I am of a Golden Age preceding the day of Pithecanthropus and his kind.

But a land which is, as regards its aboriginal inhabitants—now confined to a few tribes, and those fast diminishing, in its more mountainous and inaccessible portions—sufficiently matripotestal to justify its being called a matriarchate, I have found. And this, as is often the case with a quest of any sort, rather by accident. Residence among the American Indians of New Mexico, of Arizona, and of Nevada, and a slight knowledge of the natives of certain of the Pacific Islands—particularly those of Hawaii and of the Philippines—had led me to give up the idea of finding a genuine matriarchate even among primitive peoples. Too often I had found that where those who had “passed by” had spoken of a “matriarchal state” as existing, investigation had proved one that was only matrilineal or matrilocal.


It was in Formosa that I found these matriarchal people; Formosa, that little-known island in the typhoon-infested South China Sea, so well called by its early Portuguese discoverers—as its name implies—“the beautiful.” Indeed, it was the beauty of Formosa that first attracted me. I shall never forget the first glimpse that I caught of the island as I passed it, going by steamer from Manila[2] to Nagasaki. There it lay, in the light of the tropical sunrise, glowing and shimmering like a great emerald, with an apparent vividness of green that I had never seen before, even in the tropics. During the greater part of the day it remained in sight, apparently floating slowly past—an emerald on a turquoise bed. For on that day there was no typhoon or threat of typhoon, and on such a day the China Sea can, with its wonderful blueness and calm, make amends for the many other days on which, like the raging dragon that the Chinese peasants believe it veritably to be, of murky green, spitting white foam, deck-high, it threatens—and often brings—death and destruction to those who venture upon it. Nor was the emerald island a jewel in the rough. The Chinese call it Taiwan, a name which means, in the characters of their language, Terrace Beach, Chinese character.[3] This name[30] the Japanese—the present masters of the Island—have adopted; and it is not an inappropriate one. Nor do the terraces refer to those small, low-lying ones of the rice-paddies which for some centuries Chinese coolies have cultivated on the fertile east coast of the island; but rather to those bolder mountain terraces, carved by the hand of Nature, and covered with that wild verdure which only tropical rains, followed by tropical sunshine, can produce.[4] These terraces—gleaming brilliant green, and seeming to refract the sunlight of that April day, as we sailed across the Tropic of Cancer, which cuts Formosa through the middle—were curiously like the facets of a great emerald, polished and carefully cut.

The glimpse which I caught that day of the shining island with its vivid colouring, and seemingly wondrously carved surface, remained with me as a pleasant memory during the several years that I spent in Japan.

Although Formosa is now a Japanese colony—has been since 1895—one is able to get curiously little definite information in Japan regarding the[31] island. From the Japanese themselves one hears only of the marvellous energy and skill of the Japanese in exploiting the resources of the island—sugar, camphor, tea—and the manufacture of opium, a Government monopoly. From the English, Scottish, and Canadian missionaries stationed in Formosa, who sometimes spend their summers in Japan, one hears more of the exploiting, on the part of the Japanese, of the Chinese population of Formosa—a fact which later I found to be cruelly true.

Now and then, while I was in Japan, I heard vague rumours of head-hunting aboriginal tribes in the mountains of Formosa, but regarding these I could gain little exact information. The Japanese, when questioned about the aborigines, were either curiously uncommunicative, or else launched at once into panegyrics concerning the nobility of the Japanese authorities in Formosa in allowing dirty, head-hunting savages to live, especially as some of these dirty head-hunters had dared to rebel against the Japanese Government of the island. Of the manners and customs of the aborigines, however, the Japanese seemed wholly ignorant. Nor were the missionaries from Formosa much better informed, as far as the aborigines were concerned. Their mission work, they said, was confined to the Chinese population of the island, with now and then tactful attempts at the conversion of the Japanese. But as for the aboriginal tribes—yes, they believed there[32] were such people in the mountains; one of their number, when going from one Chinese village to another in the interior of the island, had seen a queen or “heathen priestess” of the aborigines carried on the shoulders of her followers. More they did not know—yes, probably it was true that these savages cut off people’s heads whenever they had a chance. They were heathen—what could one expect?...

While failing to get much accurate information regarding the aborigines of Formosa, I managed, on the other hand, to get a good deal of misinformation. One book in particular, I remember, written obviously by one who had never been there, gave the impression that the whole island was inhabited by savages, with a “small sprinkling at the ports of Japanese, Chinese, English, and Filipinos.”

The most trustworthy information concerning Formosa—as I later learned, after I myself had been to the island—was that obtained through the columns of the Japan Chronicle, an English newspaper published in Kobe. This information was in connection, particularly, with “reprisal-measures” of extraordinary severity taken by the Japanese Government of Formosa against certain of the aboriginal tribes, some members of which had risen in revolt against the Japanese gendarmerie (Aiyu-sen) placed in authority over them. This curiously cruel strain in the Japanese character was at that time difficult for me to[33] believe[5] (I had not then been in Korea, or in any of the other Japanese dependencies). But what was said of the Formosan aborigines aroused my interest to such an extent that I was anxious to study them at first-hand.

Circumstances, however, prevented my going to Formosa for some time. A “foreigner”—American or European—anywhere in the Japanese Empire is always more or less under surveillance; in the colonies—Formosa and Korea—more rather than less. Any attempt to go to Formosa to carry out independent investigation of the aborigines would, I knew, have been politely thwarted by the Japanese authorities. A “personally conducted tour” could, finances permitting, have easily been arranged. I would have been most politely received by the Japanese officials of the island, and escorted by them to those places which they wished me to see, and introduced to those people whom they wished me to meet. Such had been the experience of several “foreigners” who had gone to visit the island and “study its people.” To live for any length of time in Formosa one must satisfy the Japanese authorities that definite business demands one’s presence there. At that time I had no “definite business which demanded my presence” in Formosa. Nor had a “bradyaga”[6] like myself the[34] capital to start a business in tea or sugar, which would have given a credible excuse for living in the island. Besides, a woman tea-exporter!—the Japanese authorities would scarcely have been satisfied.

My desire to learn at first-hand something of the aborigines of Formosa remained, therefore, more or less an inchoate inclination on my part, and I turned my attention to other things. Then, curiously enough, as coincidences always seem curious when they affect ourselves, a few months later, when I was in Kyoto, studying Mahayana Buddhism,[7] came an offer from a Japanese official to go to Formosa as a teacher of English in the Japanese Government School in Taihoku, the capital of the island.[8]


I had taught English in Japan—both in Tokyo and Kagoshima[9]—and I knew that however Japanese people in different parts of the empire might vary in other respects, on one point, at least, they were singularly alike; that is, in their incapacity for the ready assimilation of a European tongue. This in rather curious contrast to their ability for imitation in other respects. No; teaching English to Japanese was no sinecure. But it opened for me the way to go to Formosa; it gave me an “excuse for being,” as far as existence on that island was concerned. Consequently I accepted the offer to teach in the school which had been built for the sons of Japanese officials in Formosa,[10] and in September 1916 I sailed from Kobe, Japan, for Keelung, the northernmost port of Formosa.




The Voyage from Kobe to Keelung—The History of Formosa as recounted by a Chinese-Formosan—A Visit to a Chinese-Formosan Home—The Scenery of Formosa—Experience with Japanese Officialdom in Formosa.

Formosa lies about a thousand miles south of Kobe—six hundred and sixty miles, it is estimated, south of Kagoshima, the southernmost point of Japan proper—and the voyage of four days down through the Tung Hai (Eastern China Sea) was a warm one, the latter part especially. Before Keelung was reached, the wraps that had been comfortable when leaving Japan were discarded in favour of the thinnest clothing that could be unpacked from bags or steamer-trunk. Two Scottish missionaries, returning to their work among the Chinese-Formosan in the southern part of the island, were the only other foreigners[11] (white people) on board. The other passengers—certainly of first and second class—were, with one exception, Japanese; chiefly Japanese officials,[37] who, with their families, were going to take up their duties in the island colony of the empire; or to resume these duties after a summer vacation spent in Japan. The one exception was—as exceptions usually are—the most interesting person on board. This was a Chinese-Formosan; one who, in the days before the Japanese possession, had belonged to one of the “old” families of the island—as people all over the world are accustomed to reckon age in connection with “family” (au fond, how curiously alike are we all—Oriental and Occidental—in the little snobbishnesses that make up the sum of human pride—and human childishness).


Formerly surrounding the city of Taihoku, the capital of Formosa.

At any rate, in the days when “old” families in Formosa meant also wealthy families, this Chinese-Formosan, then young, had been sent to Hongkong, to be educated in an English college there. Consequently it was in excellent English that he told me something both of the early history of Formosa, as this had been recorded in old Chinese manuscripts, and also something of the traditions of the Chinese peasantry regarding the origin of the island. This—the origin—was connected, as are almost all things else in China, in the minds of the people, with the dragon. It seems that, according to popular legend—which the early Chinese geographers repeated in all seriousness—the particular dragon which was responsible for the origin of Formosa was one of more than usual ferocity. The home of this[38] prince among dragons was Woo-hoo-mun (Five Tiger Gate), which lies at the entrance of Foochow, a town on the South China coast. One day his dragonship, being in a frolicsome mood, went for a day’s sport in the depths of the ocean. In his play he brought up from the ocean-bed sufficient earth to mould into a semblance of himself; Keelung being the head; the long, narrow peninsula, ending in Cape Garanbi, the southernmost point of the island, being the tail; the great mountain-range running from north to south—of which Mt. Sylvia and Mt. Morrison[12] are the two highest peaks—representing the bristling spines on the back of the dragon.

Thus according to tradition was created the island of Formosa, or Taiwan, which is in area about half the size of Scotland, but is in shape long and narrow, being about 265 miles long[13] and—at its widest point—about 80 miles wide. It is separated from China by the Formosa Channel, sometimes called Fokien Strait, which is at the widest about 245 miles, but at the narrowest only 62 miles; the dragon seeming to prefer to build this memorial of himself almost within sight of his permanent abiding-place. Indeed the Chinese-Formosan fishermen declare[39] that on a clear day the coast-line of China may be discerned from the west coast of Formosa. But this I, myself, have never seen—the curve of the earth, alone, would, I think, prevent its being actually seen—and I am inclined to think that the fishermen mistake the outline of the Pescadores, small islands lying between China and Formosa, but nearer the latter, for China proper. That is, if their imagination does not play them false altogether, and build for them out of the clouds on the horizon a semblance of the coast-line of the home of their ancestors—something sacred to every Chinese, whatever the conditions of starvation or servitude which drove his ancestors from the motherland.

Something of the early historical, or pseudo-historical, records of Formosa my Chinese-Formosan fellow-voyager on the Osaka Shosen Kaisha steamer also told me. It seems that the first mention in Chinese records of the island is in the Sui-Shu—the history of the Sui Dynasty, which lasted from A.D. 581 to 618, according to Occidental reckoning. At that time Chinese historians and also geographers believed Formosa to be one of the Lu-chu (Chinese characters) group; that long chain of tiny islands which dot the sea from the south of Japan to the north of Formosa, like stepping-stones, or—as they more strongly reminded me when I first saw them—like the stones which Hop-o’-my-Thumb dropped from his pocket when he and his brothers were carried[40] away into the forest, that they might find their way back home.

According to early Chinese historians the aboriginal inhabitants of Formosa up to about the sixth century A.D. were a gentle and peaceable people, making no objection to Chinese settlements on the coast of the island. Then in about the second half of the sixth century—as nearly as Oriental and Occidental systems of reckoning time can be correlated (the beginning of the Sui dynasty) there swept up from “somewhere in the south” bands of fierce marauders who conquered the west coast of the island and drove the surviving aboriginal inhabitants into the central mountains. A little later—in about the seventh century—the Chinese historian, Ma Tuan-hiu, says a Chinese expedition went to Formosa, with the intention of forcing the new inhabitants to pay tribute to China. This, however, these “new inhabitants”—of Malay origin presumably—refused to do. Consequently great numbers were killed by the Chinese, who also burned many native villages, and used the blood of the slain inhabitants for caulking their boats. To one who knows the peculiar reverence with which blood is regarded by all primitive peoples, and the many ceremonies, religious and social, in which the use of blood makes the ceremony sacred, it is easily comprehensible that the caulking of Chinese boats with the blood of their kinsmen caused greater consternation among the Formosan savages than the[41] mere slaughter of a greater number of their people would have done.

In spite, however, of the ruthless measures taken by the Chinese in their efforts to extort tribute, the “wild men of the South” held their ground, and the Chinese were at last obliged to leave the island without tribute, and without having exacted the promise of it. This, according to Chinese records, was an unprecedented occurrence when sons of the Flowery Kingdom were dealing with barbarians.

For several centuries Chinese records seem to have made little or no mention of Formosa; then in the twelfth century occurred an event even more extraordinary, as far as the relations between China and Formosa were concerned. This was the appearance in the sea-coast villages of Fokien Province, China, of a band of several hundred Formosans. These men came, it is said, for the purpose of pillaging iron from the homes and shops of the Chinese. This metal they valued above anything else in the world,[14] because they had learned that it could be made into spear-heads and arrow-heads, also into knives, more serviceable than those made of flint. They were not able, apparently, to smelt the crude ore, but they understood the building of forges, and were skilful[42] in “beating ploughshares into swords”—to paraphrase. Locks, bolts, nails, from the houses of the Chinese villagers, were grist to the mill of these Formosans, as was anything else made of iron on which they could lay their hands. It is said that before they could be driven away they had secured a large store of iron, in various forms, much of which they succeeded in carrying off in their boats. This is the only occasion on record on which the Formosan “barbarians” ventured to cross the channel which separates their island from China; or at least the only one on which they succeeded in doing so.

It was not until the Yuan dynasty (in the early part of the fourteenth century), during a war between China and Japan, that a Chinese expedition proved that Formosa did not belong to the Lu-chu group; this with tragic consequences to an eminent Chinese scholar of the day. The history of the Yuan dynasty records that “a literate of Fokien Province advised attacking Japan through the Lu-chu Islands.” This literate, believing Formosa to be one of the Lu-chu group, begged the Chinese admiral, Yangtsian, to set sail first for that island. It seems that it had been the intention of Admiral Yangtsian to sail from North China directly to Japan, but, with that respect for reputed scholarship characteristic of the Chinese, the admiral listened to the advice of the literate; the latter being promoted to naval rank, and asked to join the expedition as adviser.


This expedition proved that the principal island of the Lu-chu group lay many li to the north of Formosa. China was the gainer in geographical knowledge; but the admiral lost the advantage which he probably would have gained had he sailed from North China, and his adviser, the literate, lost his head—not figuratively, but literally. Even after this expedition, however, Formosa was still called “Little Lu-chu.”

It was not until the time of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) that the island seems to have been called Taiwan. In Chinese records of this period the name “Taiwan,” as applied to the island, appears for the first time. Indeed, for some reason, Chinese authorities seem to consider that the “authentic history” of the island begins from the time of the Ming dynasty. The event which in Chinese chronicles dates the beginning of this “authentic history” was the visit—an unintentional one—in about 1430, of the eunuch, Wan San-ho, an officer of the Chinese Court. Wan San-ho had been on a visit to Siam, and was on his way back to China, when the boat on which he was sailing was struck by a typhoon and blown so far out of its course that the captain was obliged to take refuge in the nearest port, which happened to be on the south-west coast of Formosa, near the present town of Tainan.[15] It is recorded that Wan San-ho remained for some time on the island, and when he eventually returned to China[44] took back with him herbs and plants of high medicinal value. It is said that the Chinese still use in their pharmacopœia herbs grown from the seeds of those brought from Formosa by Wan San-ho in the fifteenth century. For the accuracy of this statement I, of course, cannot vouch; nor could my Chinese-Formosan friend who first told me the story of Wan San-ho. He, however, evidently believed it to be true.

It was also during the Ming dynasty that the first association of the Japanese with Formosa is recorded. This was about the close of what is known in Japanese history as the Ashikaga dynasty, which lasted from 1336 to 1443. At this time the Japanese Empire was torn by internal conflict, and was the scene of constant strife between contending political parties, the followers of the Great Daimyos. During this period of disorder Japanese pirates, under the banner of Hachiman (the Japanese God of War), plundered the villages on the coast of China and established headquarters, first on the Pescadores—the small group of islands off the west coast of Formosa—and later at the port that is now known as Keelung, on Formosa proper.

This seems to have been a harvest-time for Japanese pirates. Unrestrained by authority at home, and finding no enemy stronger than themselves on the sea, they made raids not only on the towns of the China Coast, but made successful plundering expeditions even as far south as Siam.[45] The booty from these raids, it seems, was first brought to Keelung, then sent to Japan, where it was sold at a high profit. Those were days in which bold buccaneers waxed fat.

Nor were the Japanese pirates allowed to reap the harvest alone. At the same time that these men had headquarters at Keelung, in the north of Formosa, Chinese pirates had established headquarters near Tainan, in the southern part of the island. If the records report truly, the intercourse between the Chinese and Japanese pirates does not seem to have been unfriendly, even while their respective nations were at war with each other—outlaws presumably being absolved from the obligations of patriotism. This state of affairs lasted for over a hundred years. During the sixteenth century Formosa, which was then known to the Japanese as “Takasago,” seems to have become a sort of “clearing-house” between China and Japan—a link between nations the “respectable” portions of whose populations were estranged. In the early part of that century the Chinese pirates were united under the leadership of Gan Shi-sai, grandfather of the famous Koksinga, shrines to whose memory recently erected by the Japanese—because it has been learned that his mother was a Japanese—one sees everywhere in Formosa at the present time.[16]


The sixteenth century was a rather noteworthy one in the history of Formosa. It was during this century that the Hakkas—the outcaste class of China—fled to Formosa to escape persecution in the mother-country. And more important, at least from the European point of view, it was in the sixteenth century that Europeans first learned—as far as there is any record—of the existence of the island. It is sometimes said that the Portuguese had a fort in Keelung about 1590. Of this there seems to be no definite proof. Not only was this the opinion of the Chinese-Formosan who first gave me in outline the history of the island, but later investigation on my own part failed to find proof, or even trustworthy evidence, of the existence of such a fort. However, there can be little doubt that the Portuguese navigators, sailing down the west coast of the island, gave to it the name by which it is known to-day to Europeans—“Ilha Formosa” (Beautiful Island).[17] The Dutch navigator Linschotten, in[47] the employ of the Portuguese, so recorded it in his chart in the latter part of the sixteenth century.

It was early in the next century that the Dutch, as a nation, first came into touch with Formosa. In 1604 the Dutch admiral, Van Narwijk, sailed for Macao, in the south of China; but a typhoon—that frequent occurrence in the China Sea—drove him to the Pescadores. While there he gained a knowledge of the near-by large island of Formosa, which knowledge, it is said, was responsible for the later—temporary—Dutch dominance of the island. Another typhoon, however, resulting in another wreck, brought about the actual first landing of Dutchmen on Formosa proper. This was in 1620, when a Dutch merchant ship was wrecked near the present town of Tainan.

At that time a Japanese colony was, with the permission of China, established at this point. The Dutch captain, after having first been refused by the Japanese land on which to build a depôt for his goods—or that portion which he had saved from the wreck—at last persuaded the men from Dai Nippon to allow him to build a depôt “if this could be built on ground no larger than that which could be covered with an ox-hide.” The “heaven-descended”[18] thought the Ketto-jin[48] (hairy barbarian) mad. They naturally were not familiar with the European classics. The Dutch captain apparently was, since he repeated the famous manœuvre—said to have been responsible for the founding of Carthage[19]—of cutting the ox-hide into very thin strips. With the raw hide[49] rope thus made he succeeded in encircling a piece of ground amply large for the building of a goods depôt.

The Chinese-Formosan, in relating this story, was so convulsed with laughter that, in spite of his excellent English, it was at first difficult to understand him. It seemed that what especially excited his risibility was the idea—to him ludicrous—that a man of any other nationality should be able to outwit a Japanese in a “sharp deal.” He declared the story “too good to be true,” but in the accounts of the early history of Formosa which I have read since hearing the Chinese-Formosan recount the story, there seems evidence for its verity.

At the time, however, when this incident is supposed to have occurred—the early part of the seventeenth century—the Chinese were really the masters both of the Pescadores and of Formosa proper. It was they who, in 1622, gave the Dutch permission to establish a fort on one of the Pescadore islands. This was done under the command of Admiral Cornelius Reyersz, who wished to have a stronghold from which he could sally forth to attack the Portuguese at Macao. The next year an agreement was reached between Holland and China by which the Dutch were to remove from the Pescadores to Formosa. In 1624 the Dutch built Fort Zelandia, the ruins of which are still to be seen at Anping, the harbour-town near Tainan.


The building of Fort Zelandia marked the beginning of Dutch dominance in Formosa, a period which, though lasting less than forty years, is one that has never been forgotten by the aboriginal inhabitants of the island, as I found later, when I went among them. During this time, however, the Dutch were not left in undisturbed control of the island. Another European nation cast covetous eyes upon the “Ilha Formosa.” Spain organised an expedition under the command of Don Antonio de Careño de Valdez, which in 1626 set forth from Manila, then a Spanish possession, and sailed north to the “Beautiful Island.” The Spaniards succeeded in establishing a colony at Keelung, which they called Santissima Trinidad, and afterwards built a fort—San Domingo—at the other northern port of the island, called by the Chinese and Japanese Tamsui.

For some years it seems there was a struggle between the Dutch and Spanish for the domination of the island. Then in 1641 the greater part of the Spanish troops in Formosa were recalled to Manila, in order to take part in an expedition against the Moors[20] in Mindanao, the southernmost island of the Philippine group. This gave the Dutch an opportunity of which they were not slow to take advantage. They renewed their[51] attacks upon the Spanish garrison, now greatly weakened. The following year—1642—this surrendered, and the last Spaniard—including the priests and the Dominican Friars, who had come over with Don Careño de Valdez—left the island.

The Dutch were now left for a time undisputed masters of Formosa. They built forts on the ruins of those evacuated by the Spanish at Tamsui and Keelung. The old Dutch fort at Tamsui is still standing, and is in a good state of preservation. It has walls eight feet thick, and is used to-day as the British Consulate of the island.[21]

For about twenty years after the Spanish surrender in Formosa, Dutch prosperity in the island was at its height. It is said that during this time there were nearly three hundred villages under Dutch jurisdiction, divided for convenience of administration into seven provinces. The population of these villages, while recorded as being “native,” evidently consisted of Chinese-Formosans. Finding that agriculture was not[52] progressing among these people, the Dutch minister, Gravius, is said to have sent to the East Indies for “water-buffaloes,” the so-called caribou, and when these arrived he distributed them among the Chinese population of the island. “Water-buffaloes”—descendants of those imported by the seventeenth-century Dutch—are used to-day by the Chinese-Formosans for ploughing their rice-paddies (see illustration).


This is said to be a descendant of those introduced by the Dutch in the seventeenth century.


Besides the Chinese population of Formosa under Dutch administration, the aboriginal tribes in the mountains also acknowledged Dutch supremacy, as they had never acknowledged Chinese, and as, more recently, they have never been reconciled to Japanese. Later, when I myself went among the aborigines, I received interesting confirmation of the account given me by the Chinese-Formosan on the boat, as the reason, apparently, that I was able to get into as close touch with them as I did was because they regarded me as the reincarnation of one of the seventeenth-century Dutch, whose rule over them, three hundred years ago, has become a sacred tradition.

This tradition among the aborigines confirms the records made by Father Candidius, and other Dutch missionaries of the period; although the records, naturally, go more fully and accurately into detail. If record and tradition are to be relied upon, the Dutch rule of Formosa was marked by unusual benevolence, sagacity, and sympathy [53]with the aboriginal people; tradition in this instance carrying more weight than record, as the former is that of the subject people. Apparently the Dutch administrators allowed the natives much liberty regarding their own form of government; there was no interference in the choice of headmen or chieftains on the part of the various tribes; nor was there interference in the administration of tribal justice by these headmen. The chief of each of the most important tribes was invested with a silver-headed staff, bearing the Dutch commander’s coat of arms. This was supposed to be used as an insignia of authority. Thus only indirectly, and in a manner appealing to the vanity of the savage chieftains, was recognition of the over-lordship of the Dutch enforced. As also indirect was the influence exerted over the chiefs, by a great feast given once a year by the Dutch governor, to which it is said the chieftain of every aboriginal tribe was invited, and where matters both inter-tribal and intra-tribal were discussed. At the conclusion of this feast presents were distributed, and the chieftains sent home with the blessing of the Dutch governor.[22]

This time of peace and prosperity for the aboriginal tribes—the memory of which has remained among them as that of a Golden Age—was[54] brought to an abrupt end in 1661, through the invasion of Formosa by the Chinese pirate Koksinga, before referred to, and his followers, who seem to have poured in hordes into the island. The Dutch made a brave resistance; but, in all, they numbered only a little over two thousand, and were unable to hold their own against the vastly greater number of Chinese, who came over from the mainland in the train of Koksinga. The latter is said to have owned three hundred boats, in which he brought his followers from China.

In 1662 Governor Cogett, the Dutch commander, surrendered to Koksinga. Then the Dutch who remained alive, both those who had composed the garrison and also the settlers with their families—the latter said to have numbered about six hundred—left the island as speedily as was possible, most of them sailing for the near-by Dutch East Indies.

From that time until 1895—the close of the Sino-Japanese War—when Formosa passed into the hands of the Japanese, the Chinese were lords of the island. Of this period of Chinese dominance—over two hundred years—I learned little from the Chinese-Formosan on the boat. He passed on to the recounting of the sufferings of his own people—the Chinese on the island—under Japanese rule, and the injustice to which they had been subjected for twenty years. Of this he was still speaking when the little steamer, rounding the rocky islet, the last of the Lu-chu group, which[55] lies—or rather, rears upward—as a sort of natural fortification in front of the chief harbour of the island, puffed noisily into Keelung bay. My Chinese friend, on bidding me good-bye, said he hoped that while I was in Formosa I would come to his home and meet his wives—one of whom, especially, was very intelligent and spoke a little English.

“Bradyaga”[23] though I am, and accustomed to meeting all sorts and conditions of—wives of men, I must, I think, for a moment have looked startled. It was the man’s English accent and his English point of view regarding many matters that made his casual reference to his plural household seem incongruous. He must have noticed this (indeed it was his remark that revealed my own naïveté to myself; I thought I had my features under better control), for he smiled and said: “I know in Europe and in America it is different; certain things are done sub rosa—and denied. It is a question which is better. But come to my home and see for yourself how our system works.”

Later I met the wives of my Chinese-Formosan friend. There were three of them—the intelligent one, the pretty one, and the eldest and most honoured one, who was the mother of the eldest son and heir. At least the last was called the “Great Wife” and the “Honourable One” by the others; but there was no trace of shame or of dishonour in the position of any of the women.[56] All seemed very proud, very happy, and curiously affectionate toward each other and—greater test of a woman’s affection—even toward each others’ children. Nor do I think that they were “showing off” for my benefit; it was said by all who knew them that this was their habitual attitude. Other lands, other manners—and morals, perhaps.

As I went away from that interview with the several Mrs.——, I startled my ricksha-man—who thought I was giving him some incomprehensible order—by humming, to the tune of a chant I had learned from an aboriginal tribe in the mountains (for this was after I had been in Formosa for several months), some words written, I think, by Kipling:

“There are nine-and-sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,

And every single one of them is right.”

Then I met a missionary acquaintance. So preoccupied was I with thoughts suggested by the visit I had just paid that I almost passed the missionary without speaking. Turning back, I apologized both for my seeming discourtesy in not speaking, and also for the barbaric chant, to the tune—if tune it could be called—of which I was humming Kipling’s words.

“A visit I have just made suggested the words, I suppose,” I explained, laughing, “or brought them up from some depth of the subconscious; I was rather fond of quoting them once.” Then[57] I told the missionary of the visit from which I was returning.

“Disgusting heathen!” she exclaimed. “Besides, what have ‘different ways of constructing tribal lays’ to do with heathen immorality?” She frowned and looked puzzled. Then added more gently, as if explaining to a child: “‘Lays,’ you know, means poetry, and ‘constructing tribal lays’ just means writing poetry; nothing whatever to do with the heathen and their horrible ways.”

When we parted she adjured me to be more careful about wearing my sun-helmet, assuring me that it was necessary in that climate. “If one does not,” she explained, “something might happen to one—to one’s head, you know,” she added significantly, “and it would be a dreadful thing in a heathen country....”

To go back for a moment to the day of my landing:

As my first glimpse of Formosa from a passing steamer, a few years before, had fascinated me, so did my first glimpse of the island after I had landed. Not the Formosa of Keelung quay with its hordes of starving, skin-and-bone dogs—several of them dragging about on three legs or with paralysed hindquarters—nosing for food among the refuse,[24] or its crowd of screaming, guttural-voiced ricksha-coolies and vegetable-and-fish pedlars; or the arrogant Japanese officials—all[58] in military uniform, with swords strapped at their sides[25]—bullying the Chinese-Formosans. But the Formosa of the country through which I passed in going from Keelung to Taihoku; the Formosa of scenery surpassing that of Japan proper, both in natural beauty and in the picturesqueness of the tiny peasant-villages, each village protected from tornadoes by a clump of marvellously tall bamboos, whose feathery tops of delicate green seemed to cut into the deep blue of the tropical sky; each house protected from evil spirits by cryptic signs—said to be quotations from Confucius—written, or painted, in black on red paper,[26] and pasted above and at both sides of each doorway. Every village was further protected by a temple of brilliant and varied colouring, on the roof of which wonderfully moulded dragons writhed or reared. The inhabitants of these villages were, of course, Chinese-Formosans. Very picturesque were these too, in their bright blue smocks and black trousers; men and women dressed so much alike that at a little distance[59] they were indistinguishable. Only on nearer view was it clear that those who wore tinsel ornaments in their hair and walked as if on stilts were women. When these hobbled still nearer the cause of their queer stilted walk was obvious. Their feet were “bound,” i.e. deformed and distorted, pathetically—and to Western eyes abhorrently—out of shape.

Up to this time I had always supposed that only among the “upper classes” in China were the feet of the women bound; those of the class who could afford to go always in ricksha or sedan-chair. But all the women of the Chinese-Formosans—except those of the despised Hakkas—bind their feet; rather, have them bound in infancy. A woman with unbound feet is regarded as a sort of pariah, and her chances of a “good marriage”—that goal of every Chinese woman—are almost nil.[27]

These peasant and coolie-women hobbled nearer to see the train as it stopped at the little stations between Keelung and Taihoku, especially when it was reported that there was a white woman aboard. Many of them could not walk without the aid of a stick or without resting one hand on the shoulder of a small boy, thus maintaining their[60] balance. “Lily feet” were obviously a handicap in the carrying of such burdens as most of these women had on their backs. In some cases the bundles consisted of babies strapped Indian-papoose fashion to the shoulders of the mothers—a custom common to both Chinese and Japanese women; in other cases, of heavy bundles of food or of faggots. Unattractive as were the figures of the women—the entire leg being undeveloped, as the result of the cramping of the feet from infancy—their faces were generally attractive; sweet, with a wistful, rather pathetic expression. Only the lips and teeth of the older women were often hideously disfigured from the habit of beetle-nut chewing. The women out of doors who were not burden-bearing were kneeling at the side of the streams and canals, used for irrigating the rice-paddies, busily engaged in washing the family linen—very much in public—or pounding it between stones. As these washerwomen—and they seemed legion, for the Chinese devote as much time to the washing of their clothing as the Japanese do to that of their bodies—knelt, I saw the soles of their feet. In the case of some of the poorer and more ill-dressed women, the splashing water had displaced the rags with which their feet were bound, and the “shoes” which were supposed to cover them. The feet themselves—those members which every lily-footed woman most carefully conceals—were exposed. The sight was not a pleasant one.


I turned to watch the men, most of whom were working in the rice-paddies. Some of them were ploughing—with much the same sort of plough as those supposed to have been used by the ancient Egyptians. To these ploughs were harnessed great “water-buffaloes.” Here was picturesqueness unmarred by a suggestion of pain, even of pain proudly borne, as in the case of the women. The greyness of the “water-buffaloes” made a pleasing contrast to the vivid green of the rice-paddies and to the blue smocks and high-peaked, yellow, dried-bamboo-leaf helmets of the men. There are few things more pleasing to the eye than a carefully terraced Chinese rice-paddy in full verdure, with its graceful slopes and intricate curves of shimmering green. If one approaches too near, the olfactory sense is unpleasantly assailed. But on this first day in Formosa I was not too near. I saw only the beauty—beauty of unusual richness and variety; for, as a background to the rice-paddies, and peasant villages and multi-coloured temples, beetled the great mountain crags, all glowing in the brilliance of tropical September sunshine.

So beautiful was the scenery of the island that after I was settled in Taihoku I made frequent excursions through the country, scraping what acquaintance I could—by means of sign language and the few words of Chinese-Formosan dialect that I had learned from my servants—with the peasants, and taking “snapshots” of their houses[62] and temples, and of their children. Attractive as are all Oriental children, these little ones seemed particularly so; perhaps because of the quaintness of Chinese children’s costume, certainly as this is still worn in Formosa.

On one of these excursions into the country I passed through Keelung. My kodak was in my hand, but the idea of taking a picture in Keelung never occurred to me. In the first place, I knew that the taking of photographs of any sort in this port was one of the many things “strongly forbidden” by Japanese officialdom. In the second place, Keelung is a squalid and dirty town, with none of the picturesqueness of the open country or of the tiny peasant-villages. There was no temptation to photograph its ugliness, or the flaunting evidences of its vice—vice of the mean, sordid type of Oriental, sailor-haunted port-towns. I was hurrying through this hideous town as quickly as possible, in order to reach a stretch of open country, which I knew lay beyond, and which commanded a beautiful view of the sea and of fantastically rearing rocky islets, when I felt my arm roughly grasped. Turning around, I beheld a Japanese policeman. Clanking his sword as he spoke, he demanded my name and address; also he peremptorily demanded to know what I meant by coming to take photographs in the great colonial port-town of his Imperial Majesty, and asked if I did not know that this made me guilty of the unspeakably abominable crime of[63] lack of respect for his August Majesty. I explained that I was not taking pictures in Keelung, had not done so, and had no intention of so doing; that there was nothing there worth photographing.

“But the fortifications,” he began; “you may be looking——” Then he stopped, apparently rather abashed.

“What fortifications?” I asked. “I did not know that there were any. Where are they?”

“Oh no, of course,” he answered, with confusion rather curious in a Japanese policeman. “Of course there are not any now. Only there might be some, one day, and——” Suddenly his brow cleared, as if under the inspiration of an idea that would elucidate matters. “Anybody might be a German—a German spy, you know, looking for a site to build some fortifications perhaps.”

Although this was during the Great War, I knew that in Formosa the fear on the part of the Japanese Government of a “German spy” was practically nil. Also the Japanese policeman was sufficiently intelligent to be able to distinguish one to whom English was the mother-tongue (I was speaking with my secretary as I walked) from a German, even though the latter were speaking English.[28] But in those days of war-hysteria when many English-speaking people became excitedly sympathetic at the suggestion of German[64] spies and their machinations——. Yes, it was a clever move on the part of the policeman. But it aroused my curiosity.

Afterwards I made several trips to Keelung, but without my camera. And once, quite by accident, I learned how strongly fortified that port is at the present time, and with what ingenuity the fortifications are concealed. But that forms no part of the present narrative....

The fact that I had taken a “photographic apparatus” to Keelung was recorded against me in the police records of Taihoku, and brought several calls of an inquisitorial nature from the police.

To inquisitorial calls from the police and from other Japanese officials, however, I became accustomed during my residence in Formosa. My object in going there was to devote my leisure time—that not engaged in teaching—to the study of the aboriginal tribes of the island. There were reports—reports confirmed and denied—of a pigmy race among the aborigines. These reports still further stimulated my interest. I knew there were really pigmies—the Aetas—in the Philippines. Were there, or were there not, such people in the mountains of Formosa? I determined to find out.

My teaching duties occupied only four days a week. The other three days of each week, besides all the days of the rather frequent vacations, were supposedly my own, to employ as I felt[65] inclined. It was supposed apparently by both school officials and police officials (the duties of the two seem curiously interlinked in the Japanese Empire) that inclination would lead me to devote this leisure to attending tea-parties at the houses of the missionaries in the city and to distributing pocket Testaments among the young men of the school. My predecessor (who had resigned the school-post in order to take up avowed missionary work) had, it seemed, so devoted her leisure, and to the mind of Japanese officialdom it was incomprehensible that what one seiyō-jin woman had done all others should not, as a matter of course, wish to do. When it was learned that my inclination lay in another direction—that of tramping the island, especially the mountains, and getting into as close touch as possible with the aborigines—I received several calls from horrified officials. The Director of Schools was especially insistent (he said he was requested to be so by the Chief of the Police Department) in wishing to know why I was not satisfied with ricksha-rides about the city. This after I had made him understand that I was not a missionary and that I was not particularly interested in either pink teas or Testament distribution. “Why you want to walk?” he demanded. “Japanese ladies never walk; only coolie-women walk.”

I explained that obviously I was not a Japanese, also that I was not at all certain that I was a lady, and that if the distinction between coolie-woman[66] and lady lay in the fact that the one walked and the other did not, I much preferred being classed in the former category.

He scratched his head rather violently—a Japanese habit when puzzled or annoyed. Suddenly the light of a great idea seemed to dawn upon him. “Ah,” he exclaimed exultantly, the recollection of some missionary speech or sermon evidently being made to serve the occasion, “but they will say you are immoral, and Christian ladies do not like to be thought immoral.”

This struck me as being amusing—for several reasons.

“Yes,” I said, “and who is likely to think me immoral?”

“Oh, everybody,” he answered impressively. “And they will publish it in the papers—all the Japanese papers in the city, and in the island,” he emphasized, “that you are immoral. And, anyhow, you must do in Rome as the Romans do,” he added triumphantly, evidently thinking he had convicted me out of the mouth of one of the sages of my own Western world. Ever afterwards this: “Do in Rome as the Romans do” was a favourite phrase of his when he tried to insist upon my regulating my life in every detail upon the model of that of a Japanese woman.



(Author has vacated seat by the side of Japanese policeman, in order to take “snapshot.”)

I am afraid I did not conceal my amusement on this occasion as well as I should have done. Japanese officials take themselves, and like to be taken, very seriously. I did not wish the [67]Director to know that I saw through his ruse—and that of certain other of the Japanese officials—a ruse directed towards keeping me from coming into personal contact with the aborigines of the island and with the more intelligent Chinese-Formosans, except when under the immediate surveillance of the Japanese.

The Director said that it would be “all right” if he accompanied me on my excursions into the mountains. Now the Director happened to be a married man; his wife happened to be a Japanese lady who “of course did not walk.” I tried to explain that if he really thought there was danger of a scandal, the companionship of a married man on these excursions, one whose wife was left at home, would not tend to lessen this danger.

“I am afraid I must continue to go my wicked way without the protection of your companionship,” I said; “and if ‘they’—whoever ‘they’ may be—annoy you with questions as to the object of my excursions into the mountains, or if they are inquisitive as to whether I go there for the purpose of a romance, legitimate or otherwise, tell them that I am one of those who like to ‘eat of all the fruit of the trees of the garden of the world——’”

“Huh?” roared the Director. Both hands were at his head now.

“Tell them ‘Yes’ to anything they ask about me,” I said, “if that will set their minds at rest[68] and prevent their annoying you with impertinent questions, as you say they annoy you.”

“I’ll tell them you are immoral, that’s what I’ll tell them; if you don’t just go about where you can ride in rickshas, like other ladies,” wrathily exclaimed the Director, attempting to rise and make a dignified exit. Unfortunately, however, the Director happened to be fat, and happened not to be accustomed to sitting in a chair.[29] Also his sword had become entangled in the wicker-work arm of the chair, so that, when he rose, the chair rose with him. This slightly spoiled the effect of the dignified exit. It may have been due to the fact that it was necessary to extricate him from the chair, that, before leaving, he became sufficiently mollified to concede: “If you want exercise more than other ladies, you may play tennis-ball on the school-grounds.”




A New Year Visit to the East Coast Tribes—Received by the Taiyal as a Reincarnation of one of the seventeenth-century Dutch “Fathers.”

In spite of the objections of the Director, and the suspicions of the police and of the hydra-headed ‘they,’ I did not, while in Formosa, confine either my interests or my exercise to ricksha-riding[30] or to “tennis-ball.”

My chief interest lay with the mountain tribes—the aborigines; my chief exercise consisted in what my Japanese friends called “prowling” among these tribes. Sometimes accompanied by another English teacher and a servant, sometimes by my son or secretary, sometimes quite alone, I went up into the mountains; going as far as I could by “trolly” (or toro, as the Japanese call it[31])—a push-car, propelled by Chinese-Formosan coolies, on rails laid by the Japanese—rather, under their instructions—into the mountains, for the purpose of bringing camphor-wood and crude[70] camphor down to the great camphor-refining factory in Taihoku. From the terminus of the toro line I “prowled.”

For permission to go into the mountains—and permission for almost every movement on the part of a “foreigner” is necessary in the Japanese Empire, in Formosa even more than in Japan proper—I am indebted to Mr. Hosui and to Mr. Marui, the two most courteous Japanese officials whom I met in Formosa. I wish here to express my gratitude to both.[32]

The tribe that I first studied, and of which I saw perhaps more than of any other during my residence in Formosa, was the great Taiyal tribe of the north—reputed to be the most bloodthirsty on the island, and whose territory now covers almost as much as that of all the other tribes together.[33] From Taiyal territory I sometimes “prowled” over into that of the Saisett and Bunun tribes. This was perhaps not strictly according to official permission; I was told that it was “too dangerous.” But the spice of danger—perhaps also the “forbidden-fruit” element—made these walks the more interesting; and I still have my head on my shoulders.



The southern tribes I approached by water from the east coast; my first visit to them being [71]during the first Christmas—rather, New Year[34]—vacation that I spent on the island. Of this visit I retain a somewhat vivid recollection, for two reasons. One because of the great cliffs of the east coast, a glimpse of which I caught in passing; the other because of the novel mode of debarkation, necessitated by stormy weather, at Pinan,[35] a port in Ami territory, just north of that occupied by the Paiwan and Piyuma tribes.

I embarked at Keelung, on one of the small coasting steamers, sailing around the east coast to Takao,[36] the southernmost port of the island. It was just south of Giran[37] that we passed the great cliffs, said to be the highest in the world. For about twenty-five miles these giant cliffs rise perpendicularly from the sea to a height of about 6,000 feet. This towering wall of granite—for such the rock seemed to be—is one of the most imposing sights that in my wanderings about the world I have seen.

The weather was grey and drizzling when we left Keelung, but it was just after we had left Karenko,[38] the first port south of the great cliffs—the[72] second day out—that the storm broke. Those who have weathered a storm in a small boat know what this means. In all the guide-books, and other books dealing with Formosa, that I have seen, it is said that the sea-route, up and down the coast of the island, “can be safely followed only during six months of the year,” i.e. the spring and summer months. “Safely” is probably, like other words, a matter of individual definition. Personally I should be inclined to substitute the word “comfortably” for “safely,” judging from my own experience, both on this trip and on a subsequent one. That is, as far as the actual voyage is concerned, if one be content to remain on board the steamer from Keelung to Takao, where there is a good harbour. With the exception of one or two who disembarked at Karenko, the other passengers—all Japanese, naturally—seemed glad enough to do this. I, however, had not come on this trip for the sake of the sea-voyage, or with the object of reaching Takao—now a Japanese town, the southern terminus of the railway which starts from Keelung in the north—and which I could much more easily have reached by rail had I wished to visit it. Takao, like all the other large towns of the island, is on the western side of the great mountain range,[39] contains no aborigines, and, especially to one who has lived for some years in Japan, is of no especial interest.


The purpose of my trip was to study the aborigines of the east coast and those who lived in the narrow south-eastern peninsula of the island. It had not been possible for me to obtain police permission to cross—or to attempt to cross—the great mountain range; therefore I knew that my only hope of studying the eastern and south-eastern aboriginal tribes lay in landing at Pinan. The captain tried to dissuade me. He said that no man among his passengers would think of landing; much less should a woman attempt it. Would I not wait until another trip when the weather was calmer, or when I had a companion—one of my own race (on this occasion I happened to be quite alone and the only “foreigner” on board). He really did not like to take the responsibility.... But I assured him that he would be absolved of all responsibility “if anything happened” to me—a euphemism that he several times used, in his rather good, Scotch-accented English (he had been about the world among seafaring men). Also that my Government would not hold his Government responsible if “anything happened.” My blood would be on my own head.

The captain at last rather lost patience. He told me of some sensible missionaries—he stressed the adjective (he seemed to think I was a senseless one; apparently he could not conceive of any white woman wanting to go among “heathen” except for the purpose of “converting” them)—who[74] in similar stormy weather had sailed around the island three times before they had dared to attempt a landing at a Chinese-Formosan village on the coast. I explained that the length of my vacation would not make such a proceeding possible in my case, and that rather than go on to Takao, I preferred to go ashore—or to attempt to do so—in one of the canoes in which some men of the Ami tribe had put out from shore, and in which they were evidently endeavouring to reach the ship. I was told it was their custom to do this, whenever a Japanese ship approached, in order to barter commodities.

The captain said rather grimly that would be my “only chance on this trip,” as, with the exception of a few articles which he would give the savages, if they succeeded in reaching the ship when it came to anchor, he would not attempt to discharge the cargo he had for Pinan, but would defer that until the return voyage from Takao....

The Ami canoes succeeded in reaching the ship, and I succeeded in persuading the captain to have a ladder lowered for me to descend. This, however, only after further argument, for the captain declared he had believed I was only “bluffing” (where he had learned this delightfully expressive word I do not know), when I had said that I was willing to trust myself to the Ami and to one of their canoes. He said, however, that these coast Ami were sek-huan—“half-tame,” he explained,[75] when interpreting the expression—and that as far as my life was concerned, this would probably not be in danger, if I succeeded in reaching the shore; that is, so long as I did not venture into the interior. On this point I would make no promise, and the captain did not press the matter. He was probably glad to be rid of a passenger whom he evidently regarded as a missionary of less than average missionary intelligence. To do him justice, however, when the canoes were tossing on the waves at the side of the ship, he called down to one of the savages, who was evidently the chief, or leader, of those who had ventured out, a few words in mixed Japanese and Ami dialect. This he assured me was an order to look well after my life and comfort. The fact that I understood enough Japanese to know that the captain referred to me as the “mad one,” did not detract from my appreciation of his order.

I clung to the ladder until the crest of a wave brought the little canoe sufficiently high for me to drop into the arms of the chief, who deposited me, also the small bag I had with me—which one of the crew of the steamer had thrown down to him—in the bottom of the boat. Then shouting an order to the men in the several other canoes, the chief and the one other man in the same canoe with him—and me—began to paddle for shore. The order that the chief shouted was evidently to the effect that the men in the other boats were to[76] wait and get certain things from the steamer, for on looking back, when the canoe in which I was rose on the crest of a wave, I could see bundles being lowered from the ship’s side into the canoes. What these contained I do not know, and soon it became impossible to watch, for the waves rose higher; the salt water was in my eyes, and was pouring constantly over my head and face. I was drenched to the skin, in spite of the supposedly waterproof coat that I wore. The chief’s assistant had given up paddling and was vigorously bailing the boat with a large gourd, or calabash. The chief alone paddled.

I had been in the boats of other Pacific islanders; these had been much more skilfully managed. I soon realized that in seamanship the Formosan aborigines could not compare with the Hawaians, the Filipinos, or with most of the peoples of the South Seas; perhaps for one reason, because their canoes carry no outrigger. Or is this effect, rather than cause? Is it because of their lack of seamanship at the present time that they venture into the waves in outriggerless canoes?

At any rate, whatever they lack in skill in the navigation of sea-craft, the Ami at least are not lacking in personal bravery, or in a sense of responsibility. When the canoe was swamped by the waves—as, soon after leaving the ship, I realized must inevitably be the case—the chief motioned me to get on his back, and when I had[77] done so, began to swim for shore. He did this quite coolly, almost as if it were a matter of course, although he had never before seen a white woman; apparently regarding the whole affair from the Oriental, “it is ordered,” point of view. The other man in the boat seemed for a moment to be more at a loss, but at an order from the chief he dropped the now useless paddle, which for some reason (or none) he still held, and rescued my little travelling-bag, first taking the handle between his teeth, then, in spite of the waves, managing in a rather dexterous fashion—by means of the strip of homespun hemp-cloth which he had been wearing as a loin-cloth—to lash it to his shoulders, swimming with legs and one arm as he did so.

Thus from the water—literally—I reached the territory of the east coast tribes and southern tribes of the island. What I learned of their manners and customs I shall write in its proper place.[40] But I want here to record my appreciation of the courage and also the cool, matter-of-course calmness of the Ami chief, whose presence of mind undoubtedly saved my life on this occasion, as my own awkward attempts at swimming would never have carried me through those waves. So rough were they that it was with difficulty I was able even to cling to the back of the chief. Had the water been colder I should probably not have been[78] able to do so. But at that latitude—a little south of the Tropic of Cancer—sea-water, even in January, is never numbingly cold.

Rather different was my experience on the occasion of another winter vacation during my stay in Formosa. That vacation I spent in the mountains, as I wished to visit certain sub-tribes of the Taiyal that I had not seen. Because of the altitude, it was—certainly by contrast with the plain below—bitterly cold. There had been flurries of snow during the day. I had with me, as guide and luggage-bearer, a Chinese-Formosan coolie, an elderly man, who was supposed to be well acquainted with the mountain trails—to have tramped them since his youth, when as a charcoal-burner he had ventured into the mountains for fuel. Thus had he recommended himself to me. However, perhaps because of the snowy greyness of the day, he managed to lose his way. I had—fortunately—a pocket compass with me. In such Chinese-Formosan dialect as I had acquired—inadequate enough—I attempted to explain the meaning of the pointing needle. My guide declared he understood, and said that in order to regain the trail we must go in a certain direction. Going in this way, it was necessary to cross a stream, which usually was little more than a shallow brook. Because of the winter rains,[41] however, this had become so swollen that it was almost a torrent,[79] and when we reached it we found, instead of a shallow stream that could easily have been waded, or crossed over on stepping-stones, a great body of water, dashing over fallen trees, and swirling around boulders which normally lay far beyond its banks.

My guide, accustomed, as are all Chinese coolies—both in Formosa and on the mainland—to carrying burdens on his back, volunteered thus to carry me, declaring he could easily do so. I acquiesced; and thus “pick-a-back” fashion we started. The guide was a tall man, and, though the water came well up on his thighs, he felt his way carefully with a stout staff that he carried, and all seemed going well, in spite of the fact that it was growing dark, when, without warning, the man gave a startled, guttural cry—in the unexpected fashion of the usually phlegmatic Chinese when really frightened—shook me from his shoulders, and, stooping until his whole body was submerged in the water, shuffled rapidly to a boulder behind which he crouched. Dropped thus suddenly almost to my waist into very cold water, which was running with a swift current, I was nearly swept off my feet. I managed, however, to make my way to a boulder, near the one behind which my guide was cowering. As I drew myself up out of the water on to the boulder, I angrily demanded of him the reason of his extraordinary behaviour.

“Light of Heaven,” the man replied, in a low[80] voice, between chattering teeth, “be not angry. It is a seban—a head-cutter—there.” With a motion of his head he indicated a figure that I had not seen, standing at the edge of the water.

“I was wary,” my guide continued, “I heard a movement in the bushes. I looked up—I saw. Now our heads must surely go. As it was with our fathers——” The man continued to murmur, growing more incoherent in his terror, and evidently more than half benumbed with the cold, as I found myself also becoming.

I decided that possible decapitation was preferable to freezing—especially as the agreeable stage of pleasant dreams, which is said to accompany actual death from cold, had not been reached; only that of extreme discomfort. The small weapon that I usually carried with me on these mountain trips was in my hand-bag, which, with my other impedimenta, was on the bank that we had left. My guide had promised to return for these things after carrying me across the water. However, there are times when it is better to flee from evils that one knows.... I hailed the seban, and, although he spoke a variety of Taiyal dialect a little different from that of which I knew a few words, he evidently understood the situation. Indeed, under the circumstances, words were scarcely necessary for such understanding. The man’s grin of comprehension pleased me. It was so human—so Aryanly human—that it was[81] refreshing after the mask-like stolidity of both Chinese and Japanese to which for some time I had been accustomed; for these two peoples, however differing in other respects, are on this point at one. They equally regard it as a mark of the lowest breeding to allow any expression of emotion—of genuine feeling, of whatever kind—to be reflected in their features. Even the coolies, imitating their masters, have, as far as possible, adopted the code of the latter on this point. All wear a mask that is seldom, or never, dropped. The seban, however, are not trained in Confucian ethics; hence the play of joy and sorrow, of amusement and of other emotions, on their more mobile features.

The expression of that particular seban, at the moment, was one of mixed amusement and sympathy. I am afraid that he rather enjoyed the plight of the cowering Chinaman. For generations the Chinese-Formosans and the aborigines of the island have been hereditary foes. However, I made him understand that my guide—or the one who was supposed to act in that capacity—was not to be molested. The seban nodded in comprehension. Then by signs he made me understand that he would—if I so chose—carry me in safety to his side of the water, which he had seen I was trying to reach. My clothing was drenched, I was chilled to the bone, my fingers I found too numb to move. I realized that my hold on the boulder could not last much[82] longer. The Chinese I knew could not be depended upon in the proximity of the seban. Indeed, the poor wretch (the Chinese) I feared could scarcely manage to get himself out of the water, so completely had he been unnerved by the unexpected appearance of the seban—one belonging, it seemed, to a sub-tribe which he had especial reason to fear. For me it was a choice between trusting myself unaided to the torrent—and, in my benumbed condition, I knew I should soon be swept off my feet—and accepting the offer of the friendly seban. Naturally I chose the latter alternative.

When I signalled the seban my acceptance of his offer, he again grinned, took his knife from his loin-cloth and, holding it out of reach of the water, stepped into the stream, which swirled about his loins. I was glad enough to slip from my precarious hold on the boulder to the shoulders of the seban, who, true to his word—as in my dealings with the aborigines I found them always to be with those who have not betrayed them—carried me safely to the shore. Then still holding me on his shoulders, for I was too benumbed with cold and fatigue to walk, he strode on to a fire a little distance away, around which a number of his people were gathered. I learned later that these were members of a village community higher up in the mountains, whose bamboo huts had been destroyed by recent torrential rains. The homeless people were camping temporarily near[83] the foot of a great tree, in the branches of which the spirits of their ancestors were supposed to dwell; also the spirits of the Great White Fathers of Long Ago—obviously the seventeenth-century Dutch—to whom the priestesses of the demolished village had been offering constant prayers. My appearance among them was hailed as an answer to their prayers, which accounted for the fact, as I also later learned, that when I was carried into camp—a very benumbed and bedraggled goddess—both men and women fell on their faces, and some of the children fled shrieking in terror.

I have since wondered whether perhaps these two chance occurrences—one a storm at sea, the other a torrential rainfall in the mountains, which by accident brought me among two divisions of the aborigines, one those of the east coast, the other those of the northern mountains, in the fashion that I have described—had not something to do with the very friendly relations which existed between these “Naturvölker” and me. Certainly the rôle of the sea-born (or river-born) goddess was not one that I was anxious to play, or that I had in mind, on either occasion. But a few chance words of some of the people—after I had learned a little of their language—led me to believe that the fact that I had “come to them out of the water” contributed to the esteem in which I was held; made certain in their minds the conviction that I was the spirit of one of the[84] beloved white rulers of old, returned from the elements. (Why a spirit should choose this particularly uncomfortable method of approach—or of return—was not quite clear.) That I had come among a matripotestal people probably accounted for the fact that none of the aborigines seemed to think it strange that the spirit of one of the Great White Fathers should choose to reappear in the body of a woman. That such a spirit had returned seemed to be the general supposition among the northern tribes. Among those of the south there were some who held, apparently, that a Goddess of the Sea (or “from out of the sea”) had come to them—one to whom semi-annual offerings were customarily made.

When I realized the reason for the regard in which I was held by these people a sense of the ludicrous overcame me. School-day struggles with Virgil—buried in some region of the subconscious—were recalled; these even more strongly when one day I overheard a discussion among some of the tribespeople regarding my walk. I neither hobbled as did the Chinese-Formosan women, nor did I walk with the toed-in, short steps of the Japanese women (a few of the coast aborigines had seen Japanese women).

“Feet strangely covered, stone-defying. With no burden on her back, freely, with long steps, she walks, as must the females of the gods from whom we spring.”

Et vera incessu patuit dea,” etc. Curiously[85] similar the idea, though the words in which this time it was voiced were those of this strange Malay dialect.... The childhood of the world! Still in odd comers it exists, and can, with seeking, be found.




Hakkas and other Chinese-Formosans, Japanese, Aborigines.

As regards this particular odd corner of the world, naturally, in my peregrinations about the island, I picked up a certain amount of information. Among other things, I learned that those who make up the vast majority of the population of the island at the present time, and who are known as “Formosans”—this not only among themselves, but who also are so called (i.e. Taiwan-jin, “men of Formosa”) by their Japanese conquerors, and by Europeans resident in the island—are Chinese; that is, descendants of the immigrants from the mainland of China. Of these, between 80,000 and 90,000 are Hakkas, originally from the Kwantung Province of China—a people rather despised by the other Chinese.[42] The remaining nearly 3,000,000 “Formosans[87]” are descendants of Chinese from the Fukien Province of the mainland, and most of them speak the Amoy dialect of Chinese, though a few speak the dialect of Foochow.

The Japanese, who since the treaty of Shimonoseki (1895) have been masters of the island, number between 120,000 and 125,000, and are constantly increasing in population. All official positions, and those of authority of any sort, are in the hands of the Japanese as is now all the wealth of the island.

The aboriginal population it is naturally more difficult to estimate. But the number of the aborigines at the present time cannot, in reality, exceed 105,000. Personally I doubt if a carefully taken census would reveal that number.[43] Certainly the aboriginal population is steadily diminishing, and all tribes are being driven constantly farther up into the mountains; or, in the case of certain tribes—such as the Ami and Paiwan—are being more rigidly confined to the precipitous, barren east coast. The whole of the island—including the marvellously fertile great plains on the west side of the central mountain range—was naturally once in the hands of the aborigines. But during the Chinese dominion of[88] the island, from the conquest of Koksinga (1662) to the close of the Sino-Japanese War (1895), the aboriginal population was—if all reports and all records, including those of the Chinese themselves, speak truly—treated with systematic cruelty and with ruthless greed and rapacity. Sometimes by wholesale slaughter, sometimes by fraud and cunning, the Chinese gradually pushed the aborigines back into the central mountain range, or, as the Japanese to-day are doing, confined them to the sterile, ill-watered east coast, and thus gained for themselves possession of the whole of the broad, level, western sea-board; and even of those valleys between the mountains where rice and tea could be made to grow. Chicanery was often cheaper than gunpowder. An aborigine would fancy a gun or a red blanket. A Chinaman would supply him with the commodity desired and would take in exchange, or more frequently “as security,” fertile fields. Naturally—to one who knows the habits of the aborigines—the “security” was seldom redeemed, and the Chinaman became the owner of the land.

If an effort were really made by an exceptionally industrious or far-seeing aborigine to redeem his land, some method was usually found by the Chinaman to thwart this effort. The land remained in Chinese hands.

Since 1895 all the land of agricultural value in the island has passed from the hands of the Chinese-Formosans into those of their Japanese[89] conquerors; this usually by force and extortion, the Chinese having suffered at the hands of the Japanese, much as they had forced the aborigines to suffer at their hands during the preceding two hundred years.[44]

The well-being, or the reverse, of the aborigines has been little affected by the change of masters. On this point I should be contradicted by the Japanese, who would point out that they have introduced the eating, and—as far as this is possible in the mountains—the cultivation, of rice, instead of millet, among the aborigines. Also they would lay stress upon the fact that they have established among the aborigines schools for the “teaching of Japanese language, Japanese customs, and Japanese manners.” Apart, however, from wondering just how the displacement of millet by rice, as a staple of diet, and compulsory training in Japanese language and customs and Japanese “good manners” will be of benefit to the aborigine (the eating of white rice will probably give him berri-berri—as it has given this disease to so many of the Japanese—from which up to this time he has been spared by the eating of millet), one notes that the Japanese in their[90] reports—official and otherwise—of the efforts of their Government in the direction of the “civilization of the aboriginal tribes” fail to remark upon the fact that, because of their establishment of camphor “factories”[45] (see illustration) throughout the mountains, they are encroaching further upon the territory of the aborigines than ever the Chinese did. Also they fail to remark upon the fact that bombs are dropped from aeroplanes upon villages of the aborigines, in order to impress the latter with the omnipotence of the Japanese Government, and with that of its Divine Emperor.[46]


The work is done by Chinese-Formosan coolies under the supervision of Japanese officials. The manufacture of camphor, like that of opium, is a Japanese Government monopoly.

As a matter of fact, the only people ever dominant in Formosa who seem to have treated the aborigines with either kindness or equity were the Dutch during their thirty-seven years’ over-lordship in the seventeenth century. The story of this period of just and kindly rule in their island has been handed down among the aborigines from parent to child and still remains a tradition among them—one of a Golden Age long past; just how long of course they have no idea, but in the time of “many grandfathers back.” There is [91]a tradition that the Dutch even taught the aborigines to read, and also to write their own dialect—this in the “sign-marks of the gods” (Roman script). Old documents written by their ancestors are said to have existed among them even a generation ago. These are reported to have been confiscated by the Japanese, as part of a systematic and far-reaching attempt to eradicate the memory of any culture other than Japanese. Whether or not this story of the confiscation of old documents be true I do not know, but certainly during my two years’ residence in Formosa I was not able to find a single document of this sort among the aborigines.

Only the memory of past culture given by “fair gods who came over the sea in white-winged boats”—or, as some of the tribes have it, “came up out of the sea”—remains.

It seems that there exists among some of the tribes a belief that a reincarnation of a former “Great White Chief”—presumably Father Candidius, a Dutch priest, who devoted his life to the care, spiritual and temporal, of the aboriginal people—will return and help them throw off the yoke of their Chinese and Japanese conquerors.[47] Hence the welcome which a fair-haired, blue-eyed person receives from them, and the reverence with which he—or she—is treated: their appreciation[92] of such a one being in rather marked contrast with the point of view of both Chinese and Japanese, who speak of a fair-haired—or even brown-haired—blue-eyed man or woman as a “red-haired, green-eyed barbarian.”







Physical Appearance pointing to Indoneso-Malay Origin—Linguistic Evidence and Evidence of Handicraft—Tribal Divisions of the Aborigines—Moot Question as to the Existence of a Pigmy People in the Interior of the Island.

While the aborigines are divided into a number of tribes, and are also grouped—by the Chinese—according to the “greenness” or “ripeness” of their barbarity, yet they may, collectively speaking, be regarded as belonging to the Indoneso-Malay stock, many tribes being strikingly similar in appearance to certain tribes in the Philippine Islands. Hamay, writing under the head of “Les Races Malaïques” in L’Anthropologie for 1896, says that the aborigines of Formosa recalled to him the Igorotes of Northern Luzon (Philippines) as well as the Malays of Singapore.

Regarding the Malays of Singapore, I cannot speak from personal observation, as I have not been in Singapore; but as I spent six months in the Philippines, shortly before going to Formosa,[48] I am able to confirm Hamay’s statement as to the resemblance between Filipinos and Formosan aborigines. As regards the tribe of Igorotes,[96] this resemblance extends also, to a certain degree, to social customs and religious beliefs. Considering physical resemblance alone, however, I should say that this is more striking between the Formosan aborigines and the Tagalogs of Luzon than between the former and the Igorotes—that is, where the Tagalogs are unmixed with Spanish blood. The resemblance between the Tagalogs and the Taiyal[49] tribe of northern Formosa is particularly striking as regards physical characteristics. The resemblance, however, ends here. The Tagalogs, as the result of Spanish influence, are so-called “Christians”; the Taiyal are not. The latter (Taiyal of Formosa) are a singularly chaste, honest, and fair-dealing people; the former (Tagalogs) are singularly—otherwise.

At least one Formosan tribe—the Ami, of the east coast—has a tradition that its forbears came “in boats across a great sea from an island somewhere in the south.” To this tradition I shall have occasion to refer again.

In connection with the racial affinities of the Formosan aborigines it is only fair to state that Arnold Schetelig says he “found to his great surprise that Polynesian and Maori skulls in the London College of Surgeons presented striking analogies with those collected by himself in Formosa.[97]

One can only surmise that the reason for the “great surprise” felt by Schetelig upon noting the resemblance between Polynesian and Formosan skulls was because he had previously stressed the fact of the linguistic similarity between modern Malay and the dialect spoken by the Formosan aborigines, and had gone on to point out the “remarkable harmony between speech and physical characteristics.” However, as, since the time that Schetelig wrote, kinship of race between Indonesian and Polynesian—or, at least, strong evidence pointing in the direction of a common origin—has been established, there need, at the present time, be no occasion for surprise; since Polynesian and Malay, or “Proto-Malay,” peoples doubtless sprang from a common stock, having its fountain-head in Indonesia.

Evidence which points strongly to an Indonesian origin of the aborigines of Formosa exists in certain of their articles of handicraft, notably the peculiar Indonesian form of loom, the nose-flute, and the musical bow. (To these I shall refer at greater length under the head of Arts and Crafts.) Also the custom of certain tribes—notably the Yami, of Botel Tobago—of building their houses on piles.[50] This in a climate, and under conditions, where there is no material need for such construction. When asked the reason for this, one gets the reply customary to any[98] question that one may be foolish enough to ask as to the “reason why” of any custom whatsoever, viz. “Thus have our fathers done.”

To my mind, however, the strongest evidence showing Proto-Malay, rather than Chinese, Melanesian, or other affinity, is supplied by the language—considering the dialects collectively—of the aborigines.


Japanese policemen in background.


I am aware that the evidence of linguistic affinity as in any way indicating that of race is rather disregarded by many anthropologists, on the ground that contact—commercial or otherwise—between peoples often affects linguistic interchange, or results in the introduction of words from the language of one people into that of another. With this I strongly agree, as regards different races living on the same continent (the different races of Africa being a case in point); or even as regards people living on neighbouring islands. With the Formosan aborigines, however, there has been no contact within historic times between themselves and other branches of the Malay or Indonesian race. They themselves are not a seafaring folk, and the people who have invaded their island—certainly since about the sixth century A.D., when Chinese records first speak of it, during the Sui Dynasty—have been successive waves of the Chinese themselves, the Dutch, the Spanish, possibly the Portuguese, and the Japanese. In spite of this fact, the language to which the Formosan dialects show closest affinity is Malay [99]proper, that spoken on the Malay Peninsula, although there is some resemblance to that spoken in Java, judging from Malayan and Javanese words given in books, such as Wallace’s Malay Archipelago.

It has been estimated that about one-sixth of the words of the various Formosan dialects, i.e. those spoken by the different tribes, have a direct affinity with the Malayan language—that spoken by the Malays proper. With so large a proportion of words bearing a close resemblance, and taking into account the centuries-long isolation of the Formosan tribes—as regards contact with other Malay or Indonesian peoples—there can be little reasonable doubt that the languages have sprung from a common stock, as probably the races have done.

Regarding the tribal divisions of the aborigines, I shall mention the nine tribes into which they are now usually grouped—in the spelling of the names following the Japanese, rather than the Chinese, pronunciation, viz.: Taiyal, Saisett, Bunun, Tsuou, Tsarisen, Paiwan, Piyuma, Ami, and Yami. This is as nearly as the Japanese—or, for that matter the English—can imitate the pronunciation of the respective names by which these tribes-people call themselves. Each name seems merely to mean “Man” in the dialect of the tribe using it, except Ami (sometimes pronounced by themselves “Kami”), which means “Men of the North.” This is the tribe which has the tradition of having[100] originally come from “somewhere in the south, across a great water.”

Mr. Ishii—the Japanese writer and lecturer on Formosa—mentions only seven tribes of aborigines, omitting the Tsarisen and Piyuma. This is according to the present Japanese system of grouping. They (the Japanese) say that it is because of “linguistic affinity,” i.e. because the dialects spoken by the Piyuma and Tsarisen resemble the tongue spoken by the Paiwan, that they group these tribes together. Perhaps! Certainly it is a fact that the tribes omitted from Japanese enumeration are rapidly disappearing; and their conquerors scarcely like to call attention to that fact. At any rate, Mr. Ishii is honest enough to admit that “the Piyuma possess a peculiar social organization and should be treated as separate from the Paiwan.” The Saisett is another tribe that is rapidly disappearing. Soon there will be only six tribes left to enumerate—that is, very soon. Soon, as history goes, there probably will be none.

The ethnological—or rather, ethnographical—map included in this book indicates the various areas in which the different tribes live, or over which they roam. However, the “Aiyu-sen” (military guard line) of the Japanese is gradually, but steadily, being drawn closer about the territory supposed to belong to the aborigines; and well within this territory—even in the mountain range, in which the aborigines were left undisturbed[101] during the Chinese rule of the island—the Japanese Government has now established stations for cutting down camphor trees, and at some points machinery for extracting crude camphor, to be refined later in the great factory in Taihoku. The work at the “camphor stations” or “factories” in “savage territory” is done by Chinese-Formosan coolies under the direction of Japanese overseers. It is through this territory that the trolly (or toro) lines—referred to in Part I, page 69—have been constructed, over which the man-propelled cars are pushed up the steep mountain-sides.

As the tribes now exist, I should consider the Taiyal, of the north, the largest, both in population and also as regards the territory over which its members roam.[51] Next to the Taiyal, the Ami, of the east coast, is the largest tribe, both in population and in extent of territory; next, the Paiwan, of the south. On this point—that of the relative size of population of the aboriginal tribes—I should be inclined to agree with the Bureau of Aboriginal Affairs (Japanese), of Formosa, rather than with Mr. Ishii, who considers the Paiwan the largest of the aboriginal tribes as regards population.

The Japanese usually speak of the “Savages of the North” and the “Savages of the South”; those “of the North” being the Taiyal—or “tattooed tribe,” so called because of the rather remarkable way in which the faces of these people[102] are tattooed, of which I shall speak more in detail under another heading—together with the few remaining members of the Saisett tribe. In speaking of the Taiyal tribe, the “Report of the Control of the Aborigines in Formosa,” issued by the Japanese Government, says: “Their district [that of the Taiyal] comprises an area of about 500 square ri (2,977 square miles), with a population of about 30,000; but on account of the advancement of the guard-line in recent years, their district is gradually becoming less” (italics my own).

This statement as to the district of the Taiyal “gradually becoming less” (something which is acclaimed as being to the credit of the Japanese Government) might with equal truth be made regarding the territory of the other aboriginal tribes, those who are grouped together by the Japanese under the general term “Savages of the South,” about all of whom the cordon is gradually being drawn tighter.

The Taiyal is not only the largest and most powerful aboriginal tribe on the island, but it is also—perhaps for this reason—the boldest and least submissive. Most of the adult men of this tribe have upon their faces the tattoo-mark signifying that they have at least one human head to their credit. The other head-hunting tribes of the island are the Bunun and the Paiwan.


(See page 107.)


(The tiny island just south of Formosa proper.) Note the difference of type, as compared with the more northern tribes.

In considering the divisions of the Formosan aborigines, it would be well for present-day investigators to guard against the error into which [103]some European writers on the subject, in the early numbers of the China Review (1873-4), seem to have fallen—that is, the error of regarding the Chinese terms of Pepo-huan (Chinese characters) Sek-huan (Chinese characters), and Chin-huan (Chinese characters), as signifying ethnic or tribal divisions. In reality, these terms—in the Amoy dialect of Chinese—mean, taking the words in the order given above, respectively: “Barbarian of the Plain,” “Ripe Barbarian” (i.e. semi-civilized), and “Green Barbarian” (i.e. wild, or altogether savage). These terms were applied by the Chinese indiscriminately to the various tribes, irrespective of difference of dialect or of physical characteristics.

Regarding the latter point—physical characteristics: while, broadly speaking, all the aborigines of Formosa conform to the general “Malay type,” yet one who has been much among the different tribes can distinguish without much difficulty—quite apart from difference in tattoo-marking—between the tall, rather prognathous Taiyal of the north; the more mongoloid type of the Ami and Paiwan on the east coast; the handsomer, aquiline-nose type—approximating to that of certain tribes of the American Indians—of the central mountain-range Bunun; and the ever-smiling, gentler, darker Yami,[52] of[104] Botel Tobago (Japanese “Koto Sho”), the tiny island just south of Formosa proper (see illustrations showing types of the different tribes).

To return for a moment to the Chinese system of classification—one based on various degrees of culture (from the Chinese point of view) existing among the aborigines: The Pepo-huan are about as non-existent in Formosa to-day as are the ancient Britons in present-day England. They—the Pepo-huan—formerly lived in the eastern plains, and the few who have not been exterminated have been amalgamated with the Chinese-Formosan population. The indefinite term of Sek-huan is sometimes applied to those members of the Ami and Paiwan tribes who have come most closely into contact with the Chinese. Under the term Chin-huan are included all the other tribes of the island.

Both Keane (in Man Past and Present) and T. L. Bullock, formerly British Consul in Takao[53] (in China Review, 1873), speak of a portion of the Sek-huan as being of light colour, compared with the other aborigines, as having remarkably long and prominent teeth, large, coarse mouth, prognathous jaw, and as having a weak constitution. Both writers suspect a strain of Dutch blood in these people—though just why weakness of constitution should be associated with Dutch descent I do not know. Apparently weakness of constitution has[105] led to non-survival in a country, and under conditions, where the law of “survival of the fittest” holds rigidly true. Certainly I could find no trace of these people—taken as a group—either in the mountains or on the east coast. Half a century makes a great difference in an aboriginal people, especially when contending against stronger, conquering races.

The only extant people among the aborigines who can truthfully be described as having a “fair complexion”—as far as I could discover—are a subdivision, or local group, of the Taiyal, called Taruko. The Taruko group live within a restricted territory in the north-eastern part of the island, just behind the famous high cliffs. Not only are the Taruko of lighter colour than the other aborigines, but they have more regular and more clearly cut features. Ishii states that “they [the Taruko] are believed to be the oldest inhabitants of the island.” Of this I, personally, could find no confirmation, though Mr. Ishii may have good grounds for making the statement. At any rate, there is a tradition, both among themselves and among the neighbouring Taiyal, that the Taruko originally lived on the western side of the great mountains, and within the past few generations have migrated to their present habitat. If this be the case it is possible that they may have a strain of Dutch blood. Certainly they are famous for their intrepid bravery and unbroken spirit. They came under Japanese domination only in[106] 1914; it is said they were never under that of the Chinese. These people hold a myth as to their origin, differing from that held by the other aborigines. Of this I shall speak under the head of Religion.

Before leaving the subject of the ethnology of the aborigines, reference must be made to the moot question as to whether or not there exists in Formosa a pigmy people similar to the Aetas of the Philippines. Regarding this most interesting point, I can only say that I was never able to discover a race of pigmies—a tribe or group, however small. But I did find, while in the territory of the Taiyal, isolated instances of individuals with apparently a pigmy strain. This particularly in the case of certain women—three or four. I do not refer, of course, only to the difference in size between these women and the Taiyal women—or the women of any of the other tribes; but to certain characteristics of physique in which they radically differ. For one thing, the shape of the head is distinctly different, that of these very small women being more negroid than Malay, and curiously infantile even for the negroid type of skull—i.e. with disproportionately bulging forehead. Also the whole shape of the body is more that of a child than is the case with most adult women, either among Formosan aborigines or others. The opposition between the great toe and the other toes is more marked than with the other aborigines. And—perhaps most significant[107] feature of all—the hair of these women is distinctly “crinkly,” whereas that of the other aborigines of the main island, as of all Malay peoples, is absolutely straight—a fact of which the small women are evidently ashamed.[54]

The colour of these pigmy women—if such they may be called—is, however, not as dark as that of the Philippine Aetas or the Andamanese Islanders. On the contrary, it is rather lighter than that of the surrounding tribes-people.

Unfortunately, I did not take measurements of these small women—in fact, I had no instruments for accurately doing this—but I do not think their height can be over four feet two or three inches. An interesting point in connection with them is that the other aborigines among whom they live regard these women as being “different.” They themselves—those whom I saw—were taciturn and seemed averse to expressing themselves. Also curious, in a tribe where few divorces occur and seemingly little marital infelicity, all these tiny women whom I personally knew were divorced or separated from their husbands—Taiyal men; “mutual incompatibility” apparently being the cause.

What the true explanation is of the existence of these “pigmean” women, differing in colour, in features, and in physique from those of the[108] surrounding tribe, I do not know. It is possible of course that the few whom I saw were merely anomalies—dwarf individuals of the tribe in the midst of whom they lived. But this would scarcely account for the difference in colour, still less for that in the character of the hair, even if it did for the more infantile type of cranium and of general physique. It must be remembered that these individuals referred to live in a zone through which the Tropic of Cancer runs; consequently they may be exemplifications of the theory sometimes put forward that every race living in the tropics has its duplicate pigmy race. Or it may be—and to me this seems more probable—that these few very small and dissimilar women living among the Taiyal represent the remainder of a pigmy people, now almost extinct, of whom all the men have been killed, and of whom but a few of the women still survive. And as these few (certainly those with whom I came into contact) seem childless, it is obvious that within the very near future there will be no representatives remaining—that is, if this last explanation which I have suggested be the true one. This is one of the many points in connection with Formosan ethnology which would well repay further investigation.

It may be added that the speech of the women referred to—when they can be induced to speak at all—seems more filled with guttural “clicks” than is that of the full-blooded Taiyal men and women.


This woman is suspected of having a strain of pigmy blood. Note difference of features, and difference in the shape of head and face.





Head-hunting and associated Customs—“Mother-right” and Age-grade Systems—Property Rights—Sex Relations.

The social organization of the Formosan aborigines presents many points of interest, but the four which most forcibly impress the visitor or student of aboriginal customs, and which, taken together, constitute a somewhat unique system, are the following:


Head-hunting and the point of view of the tribes-people regarding this custom.


Mother-right” more fully developed than is usual, even among primitive people, at the present time.


The Communal System—that of holding property in common—which exists among several of the tribes.


The Chastity and Strict Monogamy customary among these “Naturvölker”; habits which strikingly impress one who goes among them after having spent some time in China or Japan, or in the Chinese and Japanese towns and villages in the “civilized” part of the island.


One, or more, of these customs naturally exists among primitive peoples in various parts of the world; it is the combination of these, welded into a well-defined social organization, that makes the latter unique.

That “head-hunting” should be included under the head of “social organization” may seem perhaps a contradiction in terms—head-hunting not being exactly a social custom. I think, however, that anyone who has lived among a head-hunting tribe will realize how closely this custom is interwoven with the fabric of their whole social organization. It regulates the social and political standing of the men of the tribe; it is directly connected with marriage—no head, no wife; and is reflected in the games, the songs, and the dances of the people. Moreover head-hunting is regulated by a code as rigid as the code of “an officer and a gentleman” in so-called civilized society—and is rather less frequently broken.

Deniker, in speaking of the Dyaks of Borneo (see The Races of Man, p. 251), aptly remarks: “A number of acts regarded as culpable by the codes of all civilized states are yet tolerated, and even extolled, in certain particular circumstances; such as the taking of life, for example, in legitimate defence, in a duel, during war, or as a capital punishment. Thus, in recalling examples of this kind, we shall be less severe on a Dyak who cuts off a man’s head solely that he may carry this[111] trophy to his bride; for if he did otherwise he would be repulsed by all.” The same charity for which Deniker pleads in judgment of the Dyak may well be extended to the Formosan aborigine, who never thus seeks private vengeance, whatever his provocation, on one of his fellow-tribesmen,[55] private disputes being always laid before the chief—male or female—of the tribe or before the chief-priestess, or a convocation of the elderly women of the tribal group. Also when a Formosan has voluntarily given his word to refrain from head-hunting, it is said—and my personal observation would tend to confirm this—that he never breaks it.[56]

The tribes among whom head-hunting still exists are the Taiyal, the Bunun, and the Paiwan, though among the Bunun and the Paiwan to a lesser extent at the present time than among the Taiyal. Among all the other Chin-huan tribes it existed within the memory of the older generation still living.

Among the Taiyal tribe—the great tribe of the northern part of the island—one can tell at a glance who has “a head to his credit,” by the presence, or absence, of the tattoo-mark on the chin. Occasionally one sees the insignia of the successful head-hunter tattooed on the chin of[112] young boys. This indicates that these boys are the sons of famous head-hunters and that their hands have been laid upon heads decapitated by their fathers; or that they have carried these heads in net-bags upon their backs. This, by tribal code, entitles them to the successful head-hunter’s tattoo-mark. Incidentally, it must be understood that while the Taiyal are—largely because of their peculiar form of tattooing—usually regarded as a single tribe, they do not so regard themselves, but are composed of a number of sub-groups (it is said twenty-six), who regard themselves as separate units; and who consequently go on head-hunting expeditions against each other.

When a boy attains maturity he is supposed to celebrate this by going on his first head-hunting expedition.[57] Usually several boys of about the same age go together on their first expedition, accompanied by older and more experienced warriors of the same group, or sub-tribe. Before going on such an expedition an omen is always consulted—usually a bird-omen, of which I shall speak more fully under the head of Religion—and it depends upon the favourable or unfavourable indication of the omen as to whether the expedition is undertaken forthwith or is postponed. The Taiyal consider it more auspicious to set forth on such an expedition with an odd number of men. They seem to think the chances will be[113] greater of securing a head, which will count as a man, and thus make up the “lucky even number” with which they hope to return to the village.

During the absence of the warriors on one of these expeditions, the women of the group will abstain from weaving, or even from handling the material—a sort of coarse native hemp—which customarily they weave into clothing. Except for the studious tending of the fires in their respective huts—for if these were allowed to go out, it would be considered a most evil omen—they do little until they hear in the distance the cries which herald the return of the warriors. Then, depending upon whether the cries denote victory or defeat, the women prepare either for a festival or for a time of lamentation.

If the warriors have been successful—that is, if they have returned with one or more heads of slain enemies—a great feast is prepared, and partaken of by the men and women together. In this respect Formosan feasts differ from the victorious warrior-feasts of many other primitive communities, at which only the men are the revellers. This difference also distinguishes the dance that follows the feast, in which both men and women participate, the Formosan aborigines forming an exception to the rule laid down by Deniker that Malay men do not dance. As in feasting and dancing, so do the women also take part in the drinking of wine—made by themselves from millet—and in the smoking of tobacco. Among the[114] Taiyal, as among most of the other tribes, both men and women smoke bamboo pipes—more of the size and shape of those smoked by Europeans than are the tiny pipes smoked by the Chinese and Japanese. These are, however, for some reason which they could not, or would not, explain, often held upside-down while being smoked, the tobacco being very tightly “jammed” into the bowl to prevent its falling out.

Among the coast Ami, only the men smoke pipes, the bowls of which are often decorated with bits of metal—bartered from the Chinese—in imitation of the features of a human face. The women of this tribe smoke huge cigars.

How tobacco was introduced into Formosa, where now it grows practically wild—the leaves being gathered by the women—is a mystery. Probably, however, it was first brought to the island by the Dutch; and, once having been planted in a soil favouring its growth, it continued to flourish and to spread, in spite of what in Europe and in America would be called lack of cultivation. Now smoking is universal among all the tribes of the main island of Formosa. Among the Yami alone—of Botel Tobago—it is, up to the present time, unknown; as is also, apparently, the drinking of any intoxicating liquor. Another thing that differentiates these gentle people from their neighbours of the main island, just to the north of them, is the fact that none of them are head-hunters.




To return for a moment to the present chief head-hunting tribe, the Taiyal. At the time of feasting and dancing in celebration of a victory, the head of the victim is placed on the “skull-shelf” of the village—being often the last addition to a pile of others—and food and millet-wine are placed in front of it, food being sometimes inserted into its mouth. The chief (often a woman), or high-priestess, of the village offers to the last-decapitated head an invitation to the following effect: “O warrior, you are welcome to our village and to our feast! Eat and drink, and ask your brothers to come and join you, and to eat and drink with us also.”

This invocation is supposed to have a magical effect in bringing about other victories, and thus adding more heads to the skull-shelf (see illustration).

The knives with which the heads of enemies have been cut off are held in great reverence by all the tribes. Among one tribe—the Paiwan—it is believed that the spirits of ancestors dwell in certain knives, which have been in the possession of the tribe for several generations.

Among the Paiwan, and also the Bunun, the successful warrior is denoted, not as among the Taiyal by certain tattoo-marking, but by the wearing of a certain kind of cap which is made by the women of the tribe. The Paiwan, whose domain formerly extended all the way to Cape Garanbi, had—and have still in certain[116] quarters—the reputation of being cannibals, as well as head-hunters. A statement to this effect is made in the Encyclopædia Britannica (see article under the head of “Formosa”). This, however, I believe to be a mistake; as did also George Taylor, for many years light-house keeper at South Cape (Garanbi), under the Chinese regime; one who probably knew the aborigines more intimately than any white man since the time of the Dutch occupation. The superficial observer, seeing a pile of skulls in a native village—often several skulls over, or at the side of, the doorway of a chief’s house[58]—is apt hastily to assume that the villagers must necessarily be cannibals. But, while head-hunters certainly, I do not believe that the Formosan aborigines are, or ever have been, cannibals.

Among the Paiwan a tradition exists that in “days of old,” when their territory extended to the sea-coast, “great boats” often came near their coast, from which men landed; and that these men were in the habit of capturing and carrying away numbers of the Paiwan people. Whether these “great boats” were Chinese junks or Spanish ships from the Philippines, I do not know. At any rate, among the Paiwan, the killing of strangers—except those with fair hair and blue eyes (which would indicate that the kidnapping invaders of the past were not Dutch)—is alleged to be an act[117] of self-defence, to prevent their being carried away, “as their fathers were.” On what foundation of truth—if any—this tradition is built, I do not know.

In this connection also the Paiwan claim that once, in those olden days, when strangers were landing from one of the large ships, they themselves (the Paiwan) took refuge in a “secret place among the hills,” but they were betrayed by the crowing of a cock, which revealed their hiding-place to the strangers, who killed many of them and carried others away by force to their ship. This they give as their reason for never eating chicken.

But as a neighbouring tribe, the Ami, also never eat chicken, and assign for their abstention an entirely different reason—viz. that “souls of good and gentle people dwell in chickens”—it is not possible to give too great credence to Paiwan tradition, or to their own explanation of their custom; this being one of the many instances where various “reasons” are given by a primitive people in attempted explanation of a long-established custom.

In passing, it may be mentioned that it is only among the coast tribes, such as Paiwan, Piyuma, and Ami, that the raising of chickens, for the sake of their eggs, has been introduced—apparently by the Chinese.

Among the Paiwan, as among the other aboriginal tribes, including the Taiyal of the[118] north, there exists the custom of two great festivals during the year, one at seed-time, the other at harvest-time. During these twice-yearly festivals there is much feasting, much dancing, and, unfortunately, much drinking of millet wine. That which distinguishes the Paiwan festivities, however, from those of the other tribes is that once every five years on these festive days the Paiwan play a game called Mavayaiya. This game consists of a contest between several warriors, each trying to impale on a bamboo lance a bundle—now made of bark—which is tossed into the air, the one who catches it on the point of his lance being considered the victor. Tradition among them asserts that in olden days it was a human head—that of a slain enemy—which was thus tossed about, a mere bundle of bark being considered a poor substitute. But Japanese laws against head-hunting are strict, for Japanese themselves have suffered from these expeditions—punitive usually—and knives, even sacred ones, are no match against modern rifles, or against bombs thrown from aeroplanes.

Similarly with the neighbouring tribe—now a small one—that of the Piyuma. On a festival day, held annually, a monkey—one of those with which the woods of Formosa are filled—is tied before the bachelor dormitory, and killed by the young men with arrows. After it is killed the village chief throws a little native wine three times towards the sky, and three times on the ground, near the body[119] of the dead monkey. Singing, dancing, and feasting follow. The old people of the Piyuma tribe explain that in the “good days of old,” when their tribe was a large and powerful one, a prisoner, captured from some other tribe, was always sacrificed on these festal occasions, but now they—like the Paiwan, with their Mavayaiya—have to be satisfied with an inferior substitute. It seems that one of the reasons why a monkey is considered so particularly inferior a substitute for a man is that the former can at its death bear no message to the spirits of the ancestors of those who slay it. In the good old days every arrow that was shot into the body of the man bore with it a message to the spirit of the ancestor of the man who shot the arrow. Apparently it was regarded as an obligation, one that could not be evaded, on the part of the victim, to deliver this message—rather these many messages—immediately upon his arrival in the spirit-world.

Even among the Paiwan head-hunting is on the decline, being much less practised by this tribe to-day than among the Taiyal. Many of the honours which were formerly paid to the successful Paiwan head-hunter are now paid to the successful hunter of game, and the latter is now even wearing the cap of distinction at one time reserved exclusively for the former.

In game hunting the aborigines use either the old guns, obtained from the Chinese by barter, long ago, or—in the cases where these guns have[120] been confiscated by the Japanese on the ground of their owners being “dangerous savages”—they have returned to the use of bows and arrows such as were used by their ancestors before guns were introduced among them. The bow is simple, usually made of wood of the catalpa tree, the bow-string being made of the tough “China grass,” which grows on the island. The arrow is made of bamboo, the arrow-head now being of iron, this being pounded out from any piece of scrap-iron which the tribes-people can obtain by barter.

An interesting feature of Formosan archery is that the arrows are not feathered, as Japanese arrows are; also that in shooting the arrow, this is always placed on the left side of the bow, whereas it is placed on the right side by both Chinese and Japanese.

So much for the rather unpleasant subject of head-hunting, and those customs which are associated with, or have sprung from, it.


Turning now to the subject of the general political and social organization of the tribes, taken collectively, perhaps the most striking feature may be summed up in the remark of the Japanese policeman who escorted me on one of my first trips among the Taiyal: “Their head-man is a woman”—which rather “Irish” remark holds true not only as regards the Taiyal, but as regards other tribes as well. One often sees the queen, or woman-chief, of a tribal group borne on [121]the shoulders of her subjects, as she goes about the village, so that her sacred feet may not touch the ground. So closely, however, are “Church and State” bound together—that is, so frequently are queen and chief-priestess one—that descriptions of certain customs connected with the “woman head-man” must be postponed until later, when these will be dealt with under the respective heads of Religion and Marriage.

Among the Paiwan—also the small neighbouring tribe of the Piyuma—chieftainship seems to be hereditary, usually descending from mother to daughter, although over some groups male chiefs rule; this apparently being usual when the old queen has died without leaving a daughter. Such instances are not infrequent among a people with whom small families are usual. In this connection, reference may be made to a statement which has been somewhat widely disseminated regarding the children of the aboriginal women of Formosa. It has been said that these women never allow their children to live until they themselves are thirty-seven years of age.[59] This curious statement was made by one of the old Dutch chroniclers of the seventeenth century, and has been repeated, doubtless in good faith—on the strength of the Dutch records—by more modern writers. Of this custom, however, I saw no trace in any of the tribes during my residence among them. On the contrary, I saw many young mothers—of various[122] tribes—nursing and tending their babies with greatest devotion. It is true that with them, as with many primitive peoples, twins are considered “unlucky,” and the weaker of the pair is usually killed at birth. Also, illegitimate children are not allowed to live, Formosan standards—those of the aborigines—being curiously rigorous on the latter point. Except in these instances, I saw nothing that would suggest infanticide among any of the tribes, and heard nothing of it. Both men and women seem particularly devoted to their offspring. But, due apparently to the present hard conditions of life among the aborigines, families are small and comparatively few of the children born grow to maturity.

To revert for a moment to the customs of the Paiwan and Piyuma tribes. A rather strict age-grade, or system of rank regulated according to age, seems to exist among them. The older the man or woman, the more is he, or she, held in reverence.

These tribes—and also the Tsuou, Yami, and Ami tribes—have the “bachelor-house”[60] system. That is, when a young man reaches the age of fifteen or sixteen, he is obliged to leave the home of his parents, and sleep in the bachelor-house until he is married. This bachelor-house serves as a sort of combination dormitory, military barracks, and club house. So strictly is the age-grade[123] system observed among the Piyuma that there are two club-houses: one for boys from twelve to fifteen years of age; the other for young men over fifteen. In both bachelor-houses—that of the boys and that of the young men—the strictest discipline prevails. A certain number of youths are assigned the duty of keeping the fire supplied with wood (if the fire were allowed to go out it would be considered an omen of disaster to the tribe); others that of bringing water—which is usually carried in great bamboo tubes, borne on the shoulders. Other duties are equably apportioned. Each age-grade is supposed to obey without question the orders of those of superior age.

The reasons assigned for having the young men live apart in bachelor-houses are as various as are the reasons assigned for the other customs previously referred to. The two explanations most frequently given are: (a) that living apart makes the young men more courageous and intrepid, especially as the bachelor-houses are usually decorated with skulls of slain enemies of the tribe, or tribal group; and (b) that it makes for chastity, and also for conserving the delicacy of mind of the young women and children; that is, that the latter may be surrounded only by staid, elderly people, and thus hear no conversation unfitted for their ears.

These bachelor-houses are usually, though not invariably, built on “piles” similar to Indonesian[124] buildings, often ten feet above ground. Entrance to these houses is by means of bamboo poles, up which the young men must climb.

One of the customs of the young bachelors among the Paiwan tribe recalls a custom of the Hawaians and other Polynesians—that is, on festal occasions they wear about their necks long garlands of flowers.

Among the Ami a more complicated age-grade system prevails. In some groups of this tribe there are ten age-grades; in others, twelve. Men and women of the same age are accorded equal privileges, greatest deference always being paid to the oldest. In some respects, the Ami may be considered the most democratic of the tribes, seniority of each in turn—rather than hereditary rank—conferring power and prestige.

With the Taiyal, each sub-group has its own chief, or “chieftainess.” With this people, however, the office seems to be more elective than hereditary, the choice usually falling upon a priestess whose ministrations have been especially successful either in driving away the rain-devil (to be spoken of more fully under the head of Religion) or in interpreting omens which have led to successful head-hunting expeditions.

The granaries, in which the year’s harvest of millet is stored, are also under the charge of women, who deal out daily supplies of millet to the women of the different families comprising the tribal group. It seems tabu for men,[125] certainly of the Taiyal tribe, to approach very near these millet store-houses.

To just what cause the women of the Formosan aborigines owe their ascendancy it would be difficult to say. As a people the aborigines have reached the stage of “hoe-culture”—a stage which Deniker and some other anthropologists sharply differentiate from “true agriculture” (i.e. with the plough), and which usually precedes the pastoral stage, whereas “true agriculture” follows it. Certainly this precedence of order of culture is true of the Formosans (the aborigines). They have no flocks or herds, no beasts of draught or of burden; they are strictly in the “hunting stage” of civilization as regards the men; yet the women scratch the ground with a short-handled primitive hoe, and thus raise millet and sweet potatoes, besides digging away the rankest of the weeds from about the roots of the tobacco plants. Whether being concerned with the raising and storing of the staples of life—millet and sweet potatoes—and with the gathering and curing of the tobacco-leaves and the making of wine—life’s luxuries—has given women the ascendancy which they undoubtedly possess is a question. Personally I should be inclined to think it had (on the principle that he who holds the purse-strings—or the equivalent—holds the power). But Lowie, the American anthropologist, with some force of argument, warns of the danger of too hastily assuming that an agricultural stage[126] (“hoe-culture” or other) of civilization necessarily implies “matri-potestas,” pointing out the fact that among the Andaman Islanders, who are in the most primitive “hunting stage,” women hold a far higher position than among the present agricultural peoples of India and of many other parts of the world.[61]

It may be that the “equal rights” (or superior rights) position of the aboriginal women of Formosa is due to causes partly racial, for in Guam, an island of the Marianne, or Ladrone, group also inhabited by a people evidently of Indonesian extraction, the same state of affairs seems to exist as regards the relation of the sexes. In Formosa this certainly is not due to contact with a superior race, for among both Chinese and Japanese—as is generally known—the woman is regarded as being distinctly inferior to him who is with these races very literally “lord and master.”

To whatever cause may be ascribed the dominance of the aboriginal Formosan woman in both political and religious life—closely interwoven as these are—the result seems to make for the happiness of all concerned, within the tribal group. Disputes within the group are of infrequent occurrence. When these do occur, they are almost always settled either by the queen, or chief-priestess alone, or by a “palaver” or meeting of remonstrance on the part of all the elderly[127] women of the group. Theft within the group seems unknown among any of the tribes; this also applies to those who are accepted as guests of the tribal group. Guests are regarded by them as friends, and the fidelity in friendship of these “Naturvölker” is touching; as is also their point of view regarding the sacredness of a promise. This is especially true of the Taiyal and the other mountain tribes who have come but little into contact with either Chinese or Japanese.

Regarding property rights among the Chin-huan (primitive or “green” savages): all the members of each tribal group hold in common both hunting-grounds and the grounds used for the cultivation of millet, sweet potatoes, and tobacco—and more recently rice, since this has been introduced by the Japanese. No dispute in connection with communal property ever seems to arise. It is understood that each man who is physically able will take part in the hunting, and thus contribute his share toward keeping the group supplied with meat. Equally it is understood that every woman not ill or aged will take part in the cultivation, harvesting, and storing of food-stuffs. Millet and sweet potatoes are kept in common store-houses, and—as explained in another connection—these are given out by women who have charge of the store-houses to the woman-head of each family, as she may have need of them. The scheme of “from each according to his ability,[128] to each according to his need” seems to work successfully and without friction among these people.

The only commodity, apparently, which among them is used as currency is salt; and this has been recently introduced by the Japanese. Among those who have never come into contact with the Japanese—that is, those in the inaccessible mountain regions—it is said still to be unknown.[62]

As regards the system of counting in vogue among them, in connection with barter and otherwise, the Chin-huan—excluding those of the Ami and Paiwan tribes, who live on or near the coast, and who have been for some time in contact with the Chinese and Japanese—still count by “hands”: that is, one hand equals five; two hands, ten, etc. Or, occasionally, by a “man”; the latter, one learns in time, being equivalent to twenty, that is, the number of fingers and toes, taken together, belonging to each man.

A striking feature of the social organization of the aborigines is their strict monogamy and their marital fidelity for the duration of the marriage.[63] This custom is in marked contrast with that of many other primitive races—Africans, Australians, Mongols, American Indians: also with that of[129] other Malay and Oceanic peoples, and most of all with that of the Chinese and Japanese. One of the latter, a government official in Formosa, with whom I was thrown into contact in connection with my expeditions into savage territory, pitied the seban (savages) for not having a social organization sufficiently highly developed to have room within it for a geisha system (that of professional singing and dancing girls) and that of a yoshiwara, the latter term being too well known in connection with Japanese cities to make explanation or definition necessary.

Among the “green savages”—those who have not come into close touch with the Chinese and Japanese—adultery is punished with death, an unfaithful husband suffering the same punishment as an unfaithful wife; and prostitution is unknown.




Deities of the Ami and Beliefs of this Tribe regarding Heaven and Hell—Beliefs and Ceremonials of the other Tribes of the South—Descent from Bamboo; Carved Representations of Glorified Ancestors and of Serpents; Moon Worship; Sacred Tree, Orchid, and Grass—The Kindling of the Sacred Fire by the Bunun and Taiyal Tribes—Beliefs and Ceremonials of the Taiyal—Rain Dances; Bird Omens; Ottofu; Princess and Dog Ancestors—Yami Celebrations in Honour of the Sea-god.

All those who have come personally into contact with a primitive Malay people will, I think, agree that belief in the “All Father” idea (such as certain anthropologists suggest is “natural to the child-mind of primitive man”) does not hold true of this particular branch of primitive man. Certainly as far as the Formosan aborigines are concerned, there seems no trace of anything of the sort, except possibly among the Ami, of the east coast; and such hazy idea of a Supreme Being as they may perhaps be considered to hold seems probably derived from teachings of the Dutch missionaries given to their ancestors. When questioned at all closely as to their religious belief, they speak of several deities. These are usually in pairs—male and female—as for example Kakring and Kalapiat. These deities seem concerned[131] with the thunderstorms which are frequent on the east coast; these storms being due, according to Ami belief, to the quarrels between the god, Kakring, and his wife, Kalapiat; Kakring causing the thunder by stamping and by throwing about the pots (the latter being the most prized possession of every Ami house-wife), and Kalapiat bringing about lightning by completely disrobing herself in her anger—this being a method of showing displeasure frequently adopted by Ami women. Earthquakes—frequent in Formosa—are supposed to be caused by a spirit in the shape of a great pig scratching himself against a pole, which extends from earth to heaven. Sun, moon, and stars were created by Dgagha and Bartsing—god and goddess, respectively. The earth the Ami believe to be flat; the sun goes under it at night, the moon and stars under it during the day.

The Ami seem more democratic in religion, as well as in politics, than the mountain tribes; that is, the theocracy of the priestesses seems less strong. Priestesses, however, exist among them, and in time of illness or danger they are asked to intercede with the various deities. Intercession takes the form of a sort of chanting prayer, growing louder and wilder as it continues, accompanied by the throwing into the air of small coloured pebbles (now sometimes glass beads bartered from Chinese and Japanese), together with small pieces of the flesh of wild pig—this apparently as an offering to the deities.


When a tribal group among the Ami is in serious distress or danger, or faced by the necessity of a decision of importance, the elders of the group[64]—or village, if only one village is affected—usually repair to a cave, or to a place near a high cliff—wherever an echo may be heard—accompanied by several priestesses. The latter dance and chant themselves into a state of frenzy, until they fall exhausted in a swoon, real or simulated. When they return to consciousness, which is sometimes not until next day, they say that the spirits which “sang back” at them from cliff or cave during the chanting have told them what measures the people must take in order to meet the emergency in question. This can be communicated only to the elders; and only the elders are allowed to watch this especially sacred dance. For any of the younger people to do so would be considered a heinous sin.

The red stones, or beads, used by the priestesses in their incantations are also sometimes used by the older warriors and huntsmen. An old hunter, just before starting into the mountains in search of game, will put a red pebble into a freshly opened betel-nut, lay this in the palm of his hand and wave it before his face, palm upward, toward the sky. This is supposed to bring him good luck in the chase. The same ceremony is said to have[133] been performed in the olden days, just before starting on a head-hunting expedition.

The ideas of the Ami regarding heaven and hell also suggest that these may be the vestiges of missionary teachings once given by the Dutch (the present-day missionaries in Formosa confine their attention to the Chinese-Formosans as before explained). Good men and women, the Ami believe, go to “heaven,” and bad ones to “hell.” Heaven they believe to be situated “somewhere in the north”; hell “somewhere in the south.” One wonders if this belief as regards direction represents a tribal recollection of their former home—perhaps of a massacre, which caused the emigration of those remaining; perhaps of hunger, thirst, and terror on the voyage between the “land to the south” and Formosa. At any rate, their tradition is that their ancestors drifted to the coast, which is now their home, in a “long boat.” The very spot of their debarkation is pointed out—a place near Pinan.[65] Once a year a commemoration festival is held at this spot, when food and drink are offered to the spirits of their ancestors. Their own ancestors of course have gone to heaven, where they themselves will go after death; equally of course the people of the other tribes, especially those with whom they happen to be at enmity, will go to hell (savage and civilized psychology being on some points strangely alike). The Ami say, however, that hell[134] cannot be any worse than the earth; otherwise spirits would not remain there.

With the Piyuma—the small east coast tribe living just south of the Ami—the most sacred spot is a bamboo-grove a few miles inland called by themselves “Arapani.” Here, according to Piyuma tradition, was planted the staff of a god, which grew into a bamboo. From different joints of this bamboo sprang the first man and the first woman, ancestors of the Piyuma people. Markings on a stone near Arapani are said to be footprints of this first couple. Hence this stone is considered most sacred.

The tradition of being descended from ancestors sprung from a bamboo is held by other tribes than the Piyuma; in fact, it is held by practically all the Formosan tribes; also by the Tagalog tribe of the Philippines. A similar tradition is referred to in the Japanese tale of Taketori-Monogatari—now, I believe, translated into English.[66]



The Paiwan—the tribe south of the Piyuma—and indeed the southernmost of the main island—is the only aboriginal tribe that has anything approaching what missionaries would call “idols”—that is, carved representations of deity. Before the house of the chief of every tribal group among the Paiwan stands an upright block of slate on which is carved a figure supposed to be human, this figure often being surrounded by markings [135]representing serpents.[67] Both human and serpentine figures are carved in the slate by means of sharpened flint, or other stone harder than slate. As the Paiwan also build their houses of slate (by a method to be spoken of more in detail under the head of Arts and Crafts), representations of human heads and snakes are carved always on the lintel over the doorway of the chief; and often on that over the doorways of successful warriors and huntsmen.[68]

Some anthropologists might see in this frequent representation of the snake evidence of snake totemism on the part of the Paiwan. I do not, however, think this is the case. The Paiwan venerate the snake as being the most dangerous of living creatures (in the tropical jungles of Formosa there are naturally many deadly species); but this veneration is more in the nature of theriolatry than totemism. They seem to think that by having constantly before their eyes representations of this the most dreaded of all the creatures of the jungle, they will, through a sort of sympathetic magic, be inspired with the bravery, as they regard it—if not the wisdom—of the serpent.

As for the figure in human semblance carved on the slate tablet, or monument, in front of the chief’s house, I am inclined to think this represents rather a glorified ancestor—in the sense in which the Japanese often use the word “Kami[136]” (Chinese character)—rather than “god” in the Western sense of that word. Certainly the Paiwan—like the other aboriginal tribes—pay greater reverence to the spirits of ancestors than to any deity. Besides the ancestral spirits believed to inhabit the ancient swords or knives, previously referred to,[69] there are other spirits whose dwelling-place they believe to be the forest or jungle. All these are worshipped twice a year, at millet planting time and at harvest, when food and drink are offered to the spirits of the dead, at the same time that feasting and drinking are going on among the living; and once every five years at the time of the harvest festival occurs the great celebration, when there is played the game of Mavay aiya,[70] already described.

Adjoining the territory of the Paiwan, on the north-west,[71] is that of the Tsarisen. Among the latter there is a tradition that their ancestors came down from the moon, bringing with them twelve jars of baked clay, or earthenware. At the home of the chief of the principal tribal group of this now small people are kept two or three old baked-clay pots, or jars, believed by the tribes-people to be of lunar origin—a remnant of the original twelve brought down by their ancestors. These of course are never used, but are regarded by them as being most sacred, only the chief and the priestesses being allowed to touch, or even to go near, them. By the side of the old jars is kept[137] a large, circular white stone, also carefully cherished, believed to be in some way connected with the moon; but whether it was brought from the moon, or whether its appearance suggests the full moon, is not clear.

It is before these treasures that the priestesses dance, and also before them that at the semi-annual festivals they place offerings of millet and millet wine, also sometimes of fruit and other food, chanting as they do so. This chanting is supposed to invoke the spirits of the moon-ancestors, who come down during the ceremony and bestow blessings upon the tribe. In other groups within the Tsarisen tribe, where there are no sacred jars or stones, the priestesses arrange the food-offerings in little piles close together, forming a circle: this to simulate the full moon. To step within the charmed circle would be sacrilege unspeakable; an offence so serious that only the death of the offender, the tribes-people say, would remove from the tribe the blight that otherwise would fall upon it. It is not on record that any member of the tribe has ever had the temerity to attempt this; and no member of any other tribe is allowed to come near the sacred spot.

North of the Tsarisen are the Tsuou and Bunun tribes; the former a very small tribe, numbering now less than two thousand, the latter numbering about fifteen thousand, roughly speaking.

The religious belief—or rather religious ceremonial, for with primitive people ritual apparently[138] counts for more than dogma—of the Tsuou is closely bound up with what is sometimes called “tree-worship.” That is, within, or very near, each village there is a certain tree which is regarded as holy; and once a year—at harvest-time—millet wine is sprinkled near the roots of the tree, and singing, dancing, and feasting carried on under its branches. I do not consider, however, that this constitutes true tree-worship, nor do I think that the Tsuou have a “tree-cult.” Rather, their ceremonial is connected with ancestor-worship, for they seem to think that the spirits of their ancestors dwell in the sacred trees, and it is to these spirits that wine is offered at harvest time, and invocations made.

The Tsuou also regard a certain orchid which grows in that part of the island as being of peculiar sanctity. They transplant it from the forest where it grows to the ground at the root of the sacred tree of each village. During the dry season the priestesses water it, and always they tend it with scrupulous care. This custom also is obviously connected with the reverence in which the tribes-people hold their ancestors, for the latter, they believe, wore this orchid when they went to battle with neighbouring tribes, and through its magic efficacy achieved victory. The Tsuou seem to think that in some way this orchid will eventually restore—or be instrumental in restoring—the former dominance and prosperity of their tribe.


The Bunun, unlike their neighbours, the Tsuou, regard a certain kind of tall grass, which grows in the mountainous region in which they live, as being of even greater sanctity than trees. Twice a year—at seed-time and at harvest-time—great bundles of this green grass are brought into the houses, millet wine is sprinkled before the doorway of each house, and invocations to ancestors are sung and danced in the open, between the houses of each village.

Among the Bunun, as also among all the tribal groups of the great Taiyal “nation,”[72] there exists the peculiar custom of starting a “new fire” at the time of the sowing and harvest festivals. This “new fire” is ceremonially kindled. At other times, should the fire go out (though this is considered a thing of evil omen), or should hunters, away from home, wish to start a fire, flint-and-steel percussion is used—this method apparently having been learned from the Dutch of the seventeenth century, or possibly from the Chinese. On the ceremonial days of the year, however—the days when offerings are made to ancestors—fire must be kindled by a method in use in the “days of the fathers.”

Among the Bunun this takes the form of the “fire-drill”—the twirling of a pointed stick of hard wood of some sort in a depression made in[140] a stick of softer wood, until the friction heats the flakes of soft wood, thus “eaten away,” to a point where flame can be produced by placing against this hot wood-dust bits of very dry grass or leaves, and blowing upon it. In order thus to produce fire, the chief of the tribal group—among the Bunun usually a man—shuts himself up alone in his hut, which for the time being it is tabu for his subjects to approach, twirling the fire-drill and blowing upon the wood-dust and tinder, until the sacred fire is “born.” From the flame thus kindled is lighted first his own domestic fire; then those of all the other members of the village or group, who, after the actual kindling of the flame, are invited into the hut of the chief.

The Taiyal method of lighting the sacred fire is a little different from that employed by the Bunun. Among the Taiyal the duty of producing the ceremonial “new fire” devolves upon the priestesses. These “vestals of the flame,” however, are not virgins. Only middle-aged and elderly women are priestesses; and all those whom I saw—or of whom I heard when among the Taiyal—were widows, and usually the mothers of children. What becomes of the Taiyal spinsters one wonders; there seem to be none. Yet they are a strictly monogamous people; and considering how frequently the men of this tribe lose their heads—in a very literal sense—a disproportion of women, consequently a number of unmarried ones, might[141] be expected. But this does not seem to be the case, judging both from my own observation and also from the reply to questions put to the Japanese Aiyu (military police) stationed at various points among the Taiyal. It may be that those anthropologists[73] are right who hold that the so-called hardships of savage life—frequent insufficiency of food, necessity of hard physical toil on the part of the women, and similar conditions—result in a greater number of male infants being born than is the case under conditions of civilization.[74] (A not impossible hypothesis: since many stock-breeders hold that the relative leanness or fatness of cattle has a decided effect upon the sex of the offspring—“lean years,” i.e. those of scarcity of food, more males; “fat years,” those of plenty, more females. This fact—if it be a fact—may also be the basis of the popular idea that shortly after wars a greater number of males among the genus homo are born than at other times.)

However, to return to our muttons—that of sacred fire, as produced by the Taiyal. On the[142] ceremonial day when the “new fire” is to be kindled, the chief priestess of each group carefully unsheathes her “fire machine” from the wrapping of bamboo leaves in which it is kept swathed during the greater part of the year. This “fire machine” consists of two pieces of bamboo. One piece, used as a saw, is sharpened on one edge to a knife-like keenness; the other edge is left blunt. This blunt edge is held in the hand of the officiating priestess. In a shallow groove cut in the other piece of bamboo the priestess inserts the sharp edge of the short, wedge-shaped, bamboo saw. To and fro she draws it, chanting as she does so. Usually she is seated in the open, before the door of her hut, her congregation of apparently awestruck subjects being seated in a semicircle, at a respectful distance from her. Gradually the bamboo saw “eats” down through the other piece of bamboo across which it is being drawn. The sawdust resulting is as hot as that which is produced by means of the fire stick, or “drill,” already described, and by applying to this dust tinder—very dry grass, usually—and by blowing upon it, flame is produced. When the tinder actually lights, the priestess gives a cry of exultation, which is echoed by the waiting people; then feasting and dancing begin.

This kindling of the sacred fire by the Taiyal priestesses occurs at the time of the celebrations in honour of the spirits of the ancestors of this tribe. These celebrations take place on the[143] night of the full moon at seed-time and at harvest-time. The day before “full-moon night,” on these semi-annual occasions, the people hang balls of boiled millet, usually wrapped in banana leaves, from the branches of trees, in or near their respective villages. These are to feed the ancestral spirits, which are supposed to descend through the air that night, from the high mountain on which they usually reside, into the trees at the moment of the kindling of the ceremonial fire. This fire lights the spirits on their way to the trees, from which the food is suspended—though moonlight also, it would seem, is necessary, since these “spirit-feeding” celebrations among the Taiyal occur always at full-moon time.

In this connection I was much touched on one harvest-time occasion, when among the Taiyal, at being presented—by a grizzled warrior, tattooed with the successful head-hunter’s mark—with a mass of boiled millet carefully wrapped in a large banana leaf. This, he explained, was because he regarded me as a reincarnation of one of the Dutch “spiritual protectors” of his ancestors.

Reverence for ancestors constitutes almost the whole of Taiyal religion. None of the people of this tribe—or “nation”—seem to hold a belief in creators of the universe, such as is held by the Ami. The only deity—other than deified ancestors—whom the Taiyal apparently take into account is the rain-god, or rather, rain-devil. He, however, is a being very much to be taken into account[144] in a country like that in which the Taiyal live—the mountainous part of the island—where torrential downpours of such violence sometimes occur during the rainy season that the bamboo and grass huts of the people are washed away. The Taiyal are not a people who cringe for mercy at the feet of deity or devil, any more than at those of Chinese or Japanese. Therefore, instead of prayers and offerings to propitiate the wrath or evil temper of the rain-devil, who is supposed to be responsible for the downpour, the chief priestess and assistant priestesses of the tribal group that is being inundated gather together, with long knives in their hands—these of the sort that are used by the men in head-hunting—and begin to dance and gesticulate. The dancing becomes wilder and more frenzied as it goes on, the gesticulations with the knives—thrusting and slashing at imaginary figures—more violent; the priestesses cry or chant in a threatening manner, while the people, both men and women, standing about, howl and wail. Often the priestesses foam at the mouth in their excitement, their eyes look as if they would start from their heads, and this knife-dance usually ends with their falling exhausted in a swoon, throwing their knives from them as they fall. At this climax the people shout with joy, declaring that the rain-devil has been cut to pieces; or, sometimes, that because he has been cut with the knives of the priestesses, he has fled away and been drowned in one of the[145] ponds that he has been responsible for creating—being thus destroyed in the “pit which he had digged for himself.” Whenever the rain ceases—as in course of time it inevitably must—this is attributed to the warfare which the priestesses have waged against the rain-devil.[75]

After having witnessed the almost maniacal madness of some of these sacred dances and ceremonies of exorcism on the part of aboriginal Formosan priestesses, one comes to the conclusion that the so-called “arctic madness,” of which some anthropologists speak (in connection with dances and other religious rites of shamans and medicine-men of the North) is not peculiar to Hyperborean peoples, but is characteristic of all Mongol and Malay races, when under stress of religious fervour or other strong excitement. The same habit of almost hypnotic imitation, one of another, when under stress of terror or excitement that is said, by those who have been among them, to be common to sub-arctic peoples, also characterizes the Malay aborigines of Formosa, this being perhaps particularly noticeable among the Taiyal tribe.

All groups of the Taiyal hold sacred the small bird to which reference has already been made [146]in connection with head-hunting customs—whose cry is regarded as an omen of good or evil, according to the note, and followed accordingly. The flight of this bird is also noted when starting on either a hunting expedition or on one of warfare (head-hunting). The warriors or hunters will stop on the spot at which the bird is seen to alight, and there lie in wait for either enemy or game, according to the nature of the expedition. This bird cannot, I think, in spite of the reverence in which it is held, be regarded as the totem of the Taiyal people. Rather, the tribes-people seem to regard it as the spokesman of some ancestor—one who was in his day a famous warrior, and who thus, through the medium of the bird, continues to guide his descendants, and all members of the tribal group to which during his lifetime he had belonged. Sometimes it is the spirit of a priestess which is supposed thus to continue to guide and guard her people.

The Taiyal word for spirit, or ghost—often used in the sense in which the Christian would use guardian angel—is Ottofu. This seems to correspond with the Atua of the Polynesians. Sometimes, however, it seems to be used much as Mana is used by other Oceanic peoples. Unless one understands really thoroughly the language of a primitive people (and I do not pretend so to understand Taiyal) it is difficult always to trace the association of ideas; but apparently, in this connection, the association is[147] that when a man is guided minutely by the spirit of some powerful ancestor, he himself becomes imbued with more than human power and wisdom and strength.

The heart and the pupil of the eye seem closely associated by the Taiyal with the spirit of each individual and are sometimes spoken of, separately and together, as Ottofu. The spirit of oneself is thought to separate itself from one’s body during sleep; also it is liable to jump out suddenly if one sneezes, and in this case perhaps be lost permanently; hence a sneeze is considered to portend bad luck.

As regards life after death, the Taiyal believe that only the good spirits go to the “high mountain,” to which reference has been made. This local Mount Olympus seems to be situated on one of the high peaks of the great central mountain range of the island. In order to reach it—or to attempt to reach it—each spirit, after death, must pass over a narrow bridge spanning a deep chasm. The men who have been successful as warriors and as huntsmen pass over in safety; also the women who have been skilful at weaving. Men who have been unsuccessful in war or in the chase, and women who have lacked skill at the loom, or have been idle, fall from the bridge down into the dirty water that lies at the bottom of the chasm.

Most of the Taiyal tribal groups believe—as do the majority of the other tribes of the island—that[148] their ancestors sprang from the bamboo. But one of the Taiyal sub-groups—the Taruko, the “High-cliffs people,” to whom I have already referred as being of lighter colour and more regular feature than most of the Taiyal tribes-people—have a curious legend as to their origin. They believe that they are the descendants of a princess who was married to a dog “somewhere over the mountains.” A similar legend is said to be current among some tribes in Java and Sumatra, which is not surprising; nor is it surprising that the same belief should be held by many of the Lu-chu Islanders—these being obviously kindred peoples. But an interesting point is that the same folk-tale is said to exist among certain tribes in Siberia.

The few remaining members of the Saisett tribe have adopted most of the practices, religious and otherwise, of their powerful neighbours, the Taiyal; so these need not be considered separately.

So much, then, for the religious beliefs and observances of the aborigines of the main island.

The Yami—the tribe living on the tiny thirty-mile-in-circumference island of Botel Tobago (or “Koto Sho,” as the Japanese call it), about thirty-five miles south of Formosa proper—differ somewhat in religion, as in other matters, from their neighbours of the large island. The Yami also observe a semi-annual religious festival; but in their case the celebration is in honour of the “Sea God,” offerings of fruit, of food, and of flowers[149] being cast into the sea on these occasions. No offering of wine is made, as is the case with the other tribes at their religious festivals, for the reason that the Yami seem to know nothing of either the making or the drinking of wine—one of the few primitive peoples of whom this is true. They have a tradition that their ancestors “came up out of the sea”; hence their worship of the “Sea God”—a reminiscence probably of the fact that their ancestors came across the sea from some other island, possibly from one of the Philippine group, judging from the resemblance of the Yami, generally speaking, to a Philippine tribe—that of Batan island.[76]

At the time of their celebrations in honour of the “Sea God” the Yami wear wonderful hats, or helmets, made of silver coins, beaten thin. These coins they obtain from the Japanese, in exchange for the products of their own marvellously fertile little island, when the Japanese boats stop at Botel Tobago, which they now do once a month. The beaten coins are pierced and strung together on grass fibres—or on wires, when these can be obtained from the Japanese. The stiff bands thus made are built up into enormous pyramid-shaped head-pieces, worn by both men and women.[77] These constitute the chief article[150] of dress, the Yami being less skilled in weaving than the aborigines of the main island, although the women wear garlands of flowers and of shells.

As the spring festival in honour of the “Sea God” comes at the time of the vernal equinox, coinciding approximately with the Christian Easter, the great silver helmets of the Yami can but remind one of the Easter hats of more civilized lands. And now that the fact is generally accepted by students of comparative religion and folk-lore that “Easter” is a pre-Christian festival—common to many lands and races, only, at the present time in the Western world, given an Anno Domini interpretation, as is the case with Christmas and the other festivals of the Church—it is perhaps justifiable to wonder whether the custom of donning gala attire at Easter may not have a very ancient origin, as many centuries pre-Christian as the festival itself in celebration of the awakening of the earth to renewed life.

With the Yami—the Botel Tobago folk—the New Year is reckoned from the great spring festival. Most of the tribes on the main island of Formosa count the New Year as beginning at the time of the harvest festival in the autumn.

Before leaving the subject of Religion as this is counted among the aborigines, it may be mentioned that the seventeenth-century Dutch writers—Father Candidius and others—speak of numerous temples—“one to every sixteen houses”—as existing among the aborigines. They do not[151] mention which tribe, or tribes, had these temples, but the context would seem to imply the Paiwan, or perhaps the Ami. While these temples doubtless existed at the time that the Dutch Fathers wrote, they no longer do so. The nearest approach to a temple is the house of chief or priestess, especially among the Paiwan, where such carvings as have been described are found. These carved tablets perhaps represent a system of temples and temple-worship which once existed.




The Point of View of the Aborigines regarding Sex—Courtship preceding Marriage—Consultation of the Bird Omen and of Bamboo Strips as to the Auspicious Day for the Wedding—The Wedding Ceremony—Mingling by the Priestess of Drops of Blood taken from the Legs of Bride and Groom; Ritual Drinking from a Skull—Honeymoon Trips and the setting-up of House-keeping—Length of Marriage Unions.

Turning from the subject of religious observances to that of marriage customs, one finds the same close association between the two in Formosa as in other lands. Indeed, the association is more close than in countries like England and America, or present-day Russia; since among the aborigines of Formosa there exists no registry office or other place where a civil marriage can be performed. In Formosa marriage means always a religious ceremony, one demanding the presence of the most powerful priestess of the local group. In some cases, several priestesses take part in the ceremony. This is especially true of certain of the groups among the Taiyal tribe, or nation.

Among those tribes, including the Taiyal, that have come least into touch with alien culture—Chinese, Japanese, or European—the religious side of the marriage ceremony seems to consist largely in purificatory rites—rites which tend to[153] neutralize, as it were, the difference between the sexes. Sex is, to the aborigines of Formosa—as to many primitive peoples,—a thing of mystery, and one fraught with danger—danger not only to the man and woman chiefly concerned, but also to the tribal group, or whole tribe. The welfare or “ill-fare” of the tribal unit is a consideration which seems always taken into account, even in connection with matters which people at a different stage of evolution would regard as being purely personal and private; these primitive folk being in some respects practical socialists, in spite of the fact that they are under the domination of a theocracy.

Before going on to speak in detail of the marriage ceremony, it may be well to say a few words in regard to the courtship which precedes it.

To one who has never been in the Orient, it may seem a matter of course that courtship should precede marriage. This, however, is very far from being the case in most Oriental countries, as all know who have been “east of Suez.” Certainly both in China and Japan, marriages are arranged entirely by the parents of the young people, often with the aid of a professional “go-between,” the bride and bridegroom-to-be sometimes not even knowing each other. The idea that a young woman should express any preference on her own part as to the choice of a husband would be considered most indelicate.


This, then, makes it the more surprising that a people not only geographically so near to China and Japan, but one that is evidently so closely akin racially to the Japanese—a fact that is now recognized by practically all scientific Japanese ethnologists—should observe customs of courtship which resemble those prevailing in the Western world, rather than those characteristic of the Orient. Nor is this true of one or two tribes only. It is true of all the tribes of the Chin-huan (“green savages”), and even also of those sections of the Ami, Piyuma, and Paiwan tribes that live directly on the east coast, and that have, through contact with the Chinese, become in other respects partly Sinicized. Their own customs of courtship and marriage, however, have remained up to this time intact.

“When a young man’s fancy”—not lightly, but seriously, always, in the case of the aborigine—“turns to thoughts of love,” he begins to pay court to the maiden of his choice by going each evening about sunset to her home. Instead, however, of calling, Occidental fashion, upon the young lady or upon her parents, he contents himself with—not exactly sitting upon her doorstep, since she, in the first place, has no doorstep, and since he, in the second place, being a Malay, never sits, as we of the West think of that attitude; but, rather, with squatting in front of the door-way of her hut and beginning to play upon a bamboo musical instrument which somewhat[155] resembles a jews’-harp, and which is played in much the same way. The sound produced is, to the Western ear, more like a wail or lament than like a love-song. However, in Formosa it is—as far as the aborigines are concerned—the practically universal method of serenading one’s lady-love, and is apparently enjoyed both by the serenading warrior and by the young lady. The lover often keeps up the performance for hours at a time, and returns the next evening, and for many succeeding evenings, to repeat it. All this time he makes no attempt to pay any other form of address to the young lady, or to ingratiate himself with her parents. Finally, after some weeks of this nightly serenading, he leaves the bamboo jews’-harp one evening at the lady’s door. When he returns next evening if he finds it still lying there, he knows that his suit has been rejected; and as in Formosa a woman’s “No” apparently means “No,” the swain makes no further attempts to renew the courtship, as far as that particular lady is concerned. At least, this has been the case as far as my observation has extended; and apparently to attempt to do otherwise would be one of the things that is “not done” in the best Formosan society; the etiquette of primitive peoples being—as is well known by those who have been among them—curiously rigid on many points.

On the other hand, if the swain finds that the harp which he left has been taken into the house[156] of the young lady, he regards it as an indication that his suit has been successful, and that he will be acceptable as a husband to the maiden of his choice. He thereupon enters the hut, where he is welcomed by the young lady as her formally betrothed, and by her parents as a future son-in-law.

With the Tsuou tribe, it is customary for the lover to leave an ornamental hair-pin, called susu, carved from deer-horn, in front of the door of his beloved, either in place of the musical instrument or together with it. The young braves of the Paiwan tribe leave food and water, as well as the jews’-harp, before the young lady’s door.

Among the Ami—or at least among certain tribal groups of this people—the devotion of the lover takes a utilitarian turn. On the night that he begins the musical serenade he brings with him four bundles of fuel—wood cut into sticks of convenient length for burning under the cooking-pots. A number of these sticks—such as would form a good armful for a woman—are bound together into a bundle, and wrapped about with wild vine. The four bundles the serenader deposits at his inamorata’s door. The second night he brings another bundle, which—on departing after the serenade—he adds to those left the night before. The third night he brings still another; and so on, until a pile of twenty bundles (never either more or less) stand as a monument[157] testifying to his affection for the lady of his choice. On the night that the twentieth bundle is added to the pile, the jews’-harp is also left. This is the night that decides his fate. Next day he returns to find whether the monument is still standing, or whether the lady, by using it as firewood, has seen fit to reward his devotion. The wood of which these bundles are made is always from a tree of a certain kind.[78] Two or three of these trees—young saplings—are planted, or transplanted, with certain ceremonies, by every boy of the tribal groups among whom this fuel-offering custom exists, when he is about ten years old.

In all cases, and among all the tribes, the acceptance on the part of the lady of the offerings of the love-lorn swain means acceptance of himself as a husband.

“What would happen,” I asked several members—men and women—of the Taiyal tribe, “if an engagement were broken? Would the young lady return the presents?”

“Break an engagement?” They all looked puzzled. “That would mean breaking a promise that had been made, would it not? But that is not the custom.” The voice of the priestess, who was the spokeswoman of the group, was shocked.

“It is a thing not unheard of in some parts of the world,” I explained.


“I speak not of savages,”[79] the old woman disdainfully replied.

Almost immediately after the acceptance of the suitor a priestess is consulted, and she, in turn, consults the bird-omen—for in Formosa to-day it is considered quite as true as it was in Greece, in the days of Hesiod, that—

“Lucky and bless’d is he who, knowing all these things,

Toils in the fields, blameless before the Immortals,

Knowing in birds and not over-stepping tabus.”[80]

Whether or not in Hesiodic Greece birds were supposed to be mouthpieces of ancestors, I do not know; but certainly this is the case in present-day Formosa. The ancestors of bride and groom are supposed to indicate through the cries of birds of a certain species—the same species that is consulted on head-hunting expeditions—the auspicious day for the wedding.

Sometimes, in order to “make assurance doubly sure,” or to decide a moot point in regard to the exact day, should there be any difference of opinion among the priestesses as to the interpretation of the bird-omen, strips of bamboo, some uncoloured, some blackened with soot, are thrown by the priestesses into the air. Upon the way in which these fall—the relative numbers of blacks and whites, and also, apparently, upon the pattern that is supposed to be formed by these strips as[159] they fall to the ground—the final decision as to the day is made.

At the wedding ceremony, bride and groom in their best regalia—this on the groom’s part including the successful warrior’s cap and long knife—squat in the centre of a circle formed by relatives and friends. Among most of the tribes the bride and groom are back to back. A priestess, or more frequently several priestesses, dance, swaying and chanting, about the young couple, cutting the air with their knives, to drive away evil spirits, which would otherwise attack a newly married couple. Before the knife-dance ends the chief priestess usually makes a slight cut in one of the legs of both bride and bridegroom, presses out a few drops of blood from each and mingles this blood on her knife. This also seems to be done with the idea of neutralizing evil influences that would otherwise attend the consummation of a marriage.

Feasting and drinking follow the ceremony proper—or at least that part of the ceremony just described. The concluding portion of the ceremony consists in the drinking by bride and groom together from a skull. This skull is preferably one which has been taken from an enemy by the bridegroom himself, and among the Taiyal this is usually the case even to-day. The Bunun and Paiwan often content themselves with drinking from skulls taken by the father, or grandfather, of the groom; while the other tribes, especially[160] the Ami and Piyuma, have so far departed from the ways of their fathers that a monkey’s skull, or occasionally a deer’s skull, is now often substituted—for which effeminacy they are held in great contempt by the Taiyal.

The newly married couple, among most of the aboriginal tribes of Formosa, do not live with the parents of either bride or groom, their custom in this respect also being more in accord with that of the Occident than with that of most parts of the Orient.

After marriage they “set up housekeeping” for themselves, in a bamboo or stone hut, according to the tribe.[81] As a matter of fact, among the Taiyal, the newly married couple seem often to retire into the forest or jungle for several days after the marriage ceremony,[82] and only upon their return from this sylvan honeymoon does the bridegroom build the hut, while the bride has her face tattooed by the priestesses with the insignia of matronhood—a design which extends from lip to ear, and which will be described at greater length under the head of Tattooing. The Taiyal women, alone, have their faces tattooed[161] at puberty and at marriage. Among the other tribes the state of matronhood seems to be designated by the wearing of a turban, or head-cloth.

The Piyuma tribe presents the only exception to the rule that after marriage young people are expected to set up house-keeping on their own account. In this tribe, which is matrilocal, as well as matripotestal, the bridegroom transfers himself and all his belongings to the home of the bride, and is thenceforth known as a member of her family.[83]

Among none of the tribes did I find evidence of exogamy—in the usually accepted sense of that word. The regulations restricting the marriage of near relatives are, however, rigid. Marriage of first cousins is forbidden; or rather it is “frowned upon,” as regards the marriage of cousins on either side of the family. But among the Ami, Piyuma, Tsarisen, and Paiwan tribes marriage with the first cousin on the mother’s side is absolutely forbidden. Among the other tribes it is marriage with the first cousin on the father’s side that is strictly tabu. Nor does it ever seem to occur to the young people even to attempt to defy these tribal tabus.


Regarding the permanency of marriage-unions. Among the “Savages of the North”—the Taiyal and Saisett—the separation of husband and wife is almost unknown, with the exception of those few unions, already referred to, where the woman is apparently of mixed pigmy blood. With the tribes of the South, however, separation is more frequent, based apparently—in many cases certainly—on “mutual incompatibility.” In such cases the separation is usually a peaceful one, both husband and wife frequently remarrying. It is among the Ami that the frequency of separation and remarriage reaches its height, marriages in this tribe often not lasting more than two years; that is, among young people. A marriage that occurs between people of thirty-five years or over (in which case, naturally, according to the custom of this tribe, both have been married before) is usually a lasting one.

The children of temporary unions, such as have been described, go sometimes with one parent, sometimes with the other. The arrangement seems always an amicable one, the grandparents of the children often deciding the matter. Priestesses are also usually consulted on this point, as on others that affect either individual or tribal welfare.




Belief that Illness is due to Evil Ottofu—Ministrations of the Priestess—A Seventeenth-century Dutch Record of the Treatment of the Dying by the Formosan Aborigines—The “Dead Houses” of the Taiyal—Burial of the Dead by the Ami, Bunun, and Paiwan Tribes beneath the Hearth-stone of the Home—“Green” and “Dry” Funerals.

As on occasions of rejoicing—marriage, harvest-festivals, celebration of successful war or hunting expeditions—so in times of sorrow—illness or death—are the ministrations of the priestesses in demand. Illness—except that which is the direct result of wounds received in foray or battle—is regarded as being due to the machinations of the malevolently inclined, living or dead. That is, it may be a living enemy whose evil and powerful Ottofu causes pain and illness; or it may be the Ottofu of the ghost of some dead enemy. Serious illness is more usually attributed to the latter, since the Ottofu of a ghost is considered to have more power than that of any living person.

Naturally the element of terror enters into such a conception; also that of helplessness, since against an enemy already dead there can be no[164] reprisal. The advantage is all on the side of the dead man—an auto-suggestion which tends, of course, to aggravate the illness of the living.

In any case of illness a priestess is summoned. The usual mode of procedure on the part of this lady is first to wave a banana-leaf over the patient, chanting as she does so. This is evidently to brush away—or frighten away—any evilly inclined Ottofu that may be hovering about. Then, squatting by the side of the sufferer, she begins to suck at that spot on his—or her—body where the patient complains of greatest pain, and to breathe upon it; now and then she stops sucking, and rocks herself to and fro, as she balances on her heels, chanting in time to the rocking motion. If it be suspected that the Ottofu of a living enemy has caused the illness, the priestess will throw into the air her strips of black and white (i.e. natural-coloured) bamboo, and upon the pattern formed by these, as they fall, will depend her decision as to who is responsible for the illness of the patient. The guilty person will thereupon be hunted down by relatives of the ill man or woman,[84] and a blood-feud will result, for illness or suffering caused by the living can be cured only by the death of the one responsible.

Should the priestess decide, however, that it is[165] the Ottofu of a ghost which has caused the trouble, then only “prayer and fasting” can avail—or can be tried, the prayer taking the form of chanting, which often becomes wild and hysterical, the priestess sometimes rising to her feet and dancing as she chants. Apparently the point of the chanting is to invoke the ghosts of the ill man’s ancestors, and to beseech these to overcome the ghost of his enemy. If, by chance, the patient survives the sucking and chanting, and recovers, his recovery is of course attributed to the intercession of the priestess.

Among many of the sub-tribes—or tribal groups—of the Taiyal, especially those living in the eastern part of the Taiyal territory, the officiating priestess, in cases of serious illness, attempts to learn the decision of the ghost-ancestors, as to whether they will restore the patient to health, or whether they consider it time for him to join themselves. This she does by grasping tightly between her knees a bamboo tube which projects in front; on this tube she balances a stone with a hole pierced through it—an object which is considered sacred. Above this sacred object she waves her hands. If the stone remains balanced on the bamboo, it is thought the patient will recover. If it drops to the ground, it is believed that the ancestors have determined to call the ill man to themselves.

In any case, if death is seen to be inevitable, relatives and friends of the dying man gather[166] about his bedside and “wail his spirit across the bridge.”[85]

The Dutch writers of the seventeenth century state that among certain of the aborigines of Formosa (which tribe is not specified) it was the custom to take the very ill man out of his hut, bind a rope of vegetable fibre or twisted vines about his body, and by means of this rope suspend him to the bent-down spring-branch of a tree, then release the branch, which release would have the effect of throwing the dying man violently to the ground, thus “breaking his neck and all his limbs.” The aborigines told the Dutch that they did this in order to shorten the suffering of the dying. But the Dutch missionary Fathers, who claimed to have witnessed this peculiar act of barbarity, seemed to think the real motive which actuated those responsible was to save themselves the trouble of tending the ill and dying.

To whatever extent this custom may have prevailed in the days of the Dutch occupation of the island, it is, I think, no longer observed, either among the Taiyal nation of the North or among any of the various tribes of the South. Whether or not the giving up of this practice among those tribes where it formerly existed was due to the influence of the Dutch missionaries, I do not know. If so, it seems never to have been resumed. Among the tribes of both the North and the South, at the present time, the ill and dying are[167] tended by priestesses and wailed over by members of the family—and, if a person of prominence, by other members of the village or community as well—until the breath has left the body.

After death there is a difference among the tribes as to the disposition of the body. With the Taiyal—also the Saisett, the smaller tribe of the North which seems to have borrowed Taiyal customs—the dead man or woman is simply left in the house which was his, or her, abode during life. In the case of a man, the weapons which he used during life, also pipe and tobacco, are left with the body; in the case of a woman, agricultural implements—hoe or digging-stick—and tobacco are left. The loom which she used, for some reason, is not left. This distinction—between agricultural implements and loom—apparently is made because the former is regarded as belonging exclusively to the individual woman, while the latter is used communally by a number of women of the village. At least such is the explanation given; but one cannot help wondering to what extent considerations of a practical nature enter into the distinction made, since a digging-stick or hoe, such as is used by Taiyal women, can be made in much less than a day, while it requires many days of labour to make a loom.

With the bodies of both men and women a little food and wine are left—a share in the funeral feast, which is partaken of by every adult member of the village, including the nearest relations of[168] the deceased, whose appetites do not seem to be affected by their loss.

In all the “dead-houses” that I have seen the roof has been broken in. This I am told is done by the funeral party at the time that they abandon the house; but whether by thus covering the corpse with the broken-in roof—bamboo and grass—the intention is to save the body from desecration by dogs or other animals, or whether it is to prevent the spirit of the dead man from quitting the house in which his body has been left, is an open question. Certainly the living seem to stand much in dread of the Ottofu of the recently deceased. This was impressed upon me more than once when I attempted to go near one or another of these abandoned houses of the dead. I was gently drawn back and made to understand that I was running very grave danger.

As the Taiyal houses are built only of bamboo and of a sort of coarse grass which grows in the mountains, the erection of a new house for the family of the deceased is not a serious undertaking; more especially as all the men of the village assist at the building of the new house, which is always erected at a respectful distance from the one that has been given over to the dead. The new house is often erected in a single day.

It may be that the difference in the style of houses—consequently in the amount of time and labour involved in their construction—accounts[169] for the difference in burial customs between the Taiyal, on the one hand, and certain of the southern tribes, notably the Paiwan and a portion of the Ami and Bunun, on the other. Those of the Ami who live immediately on the coast, in the vicinity of Chinese villages, have adopted the Chinese custom of inhumation of the dead outside the house; but those who live inland from the coast follow what was evidently their original custom, as it is still that of the Paiwan and the eastern Bunun; namely, the burial of the dead, in a crouching position, underneath the hearth-stone of the family home. Gruesome as the custom may seem to Western minds—and unhygienic—it is accepted as a matter of course by the tribes among whom it exists, and the idea of its exciting horror in the mind of anyone else seems to them incredible and absurd. The houses of the people who practise this peculiar form of inhumation are substantially built of slate (the mode of construction to be described in greater detail under a subsequent heading); one or more slabs of slate being used as a hearth, on which a fire is kept always burning—or, during the dry season, smouldering.

When the death occurs of any member of the family, the body is bound with strands of coarse grass in a stooping, or crouching, posture. Then after the usual funeral ceremonies, both of wailing and of feasting, are concluded, the ashes are scraped from the hearth—care being taken, however,[170] that the coals are kept “alive,” for should these be extinguished, or grow cold, it would be considered an omen of evil, and would also “displease the Ottofu” of the dead—and the hearth-stones are removed. A deep hole is dug in the place from which the stones have been moved. This is usually lined with grass before the body is lowered into it. The personal belongings of the deceased are also placed in the grave, which is then filled in, the hearth-stone replaced, and the fire rekindled. Then the life of the surviving members of the household goes on as before.

After several members of the household have died, naturally the space occupied by the graves extends beyond that covered by the hearth-stones, but always the graves are grouped as closely as possible beneath the hearth. Whether originally this was done that the heat of the fire might the more quickly decompose the bodies I do not know. At the present time the only reason given for this custom is the stereotyped one, “Thus have our fathers always done”—an answer which makes one wonder, in connection with many customs, at what point in evolution man ceased to be satisfied with this reason for doing, or leaving undone, the things which make up the routine of his life.

The funeral customs of the western Bunun—or of certain communities among them—are reminiscent of the customs, described by the Dutch Fathers, as having been in vogue among[171] the aborigines in their day. Among these people—the western Bunun—the dead receive both a “green” and a “dry” funeral. After death the body is slowly dried for nine days before a fire in the house in which the deceased died, funeral festivities being continued by the living during this time. This process is said partially to mummify, or desiccate, the body (I have not myself been present at such a funeral). At the end of the ninth day, the body is wrapped in cloths and placed on a platform in the open, similar to that on which the dead of the American Indians of the western plains are placed. This platform is also draped about with native cloth. At the end of three years, the bones are removed from the platform and buried beneath the house which the man had occupied during his lifetime. This second, or “dry,” funeral is, like the first, or “green” one, made an occasion for drinking and feasting—an essential part of every ceremony, whether of rejoicing or of sorrow. After the “dry” funeral, the widow, or widower, of the deceased is considered free to contract another alliance, should he, or she, feel so inclined. To remarry before the “dry” funeral, three years after the death of the deceased, would be contrary to tribal custom; therefore one of the things that is never done.

Among none of the tribes of the Formosans did I see any evidence of the wearing of the bones of the deceased as an indication of mourning—as is[172] the case in certain parts of Indonesia. Nor is there anything approaching “suttee,” or the sacrifice, in any form, of the widow at the death of her husband. This, however, would scarcely be expected in a country where women “hold the upper hand,” as is apparently the case in Formosa.






Various Types of Dwelling-houses Peculiar to the Different Tribes—Ingenious Suspension-bridges and Communal Granaries Common to all the Tribes—Weapons and the Methods of their Ornamentation—Weaving and Basket-making—Peculiar Indonesian Form of Loom—Pottery-making—Agricultural Implements and Fish-traps—Musical Instruments: Nose-flute; Musical Bow; Bamboo Jews’-harp—Personal Adornment.

To deal adequately with this subject would require a volume in itself. In this book I shall speak only of those forms of arts and crafts which are either peculiar to the Formosans or which seem to show their racial affinity to other peoples.

First, as regards their dwelling-houses. The mode of construction of these varies among the different tribes, and has already been referred to in the preceding chapter, in connection with funeral rites. The houses of the Taiyal—simple bamboo and grass shelters, having only a doorway, but no windows[86]—call for little in the way of detailed description. These huts are mere sleeping-places, the beds being bamboo benches, built against the sides of the wall, at about two feet elevation from the ground. Only in rainy weather is either cooking or weaving done inside[174] the house. The interior of the hut is in almost total darkness, the doorway being both narrow and low; so low that even a woman has to stoop in order to enter it. The smaller tribes whose territory adjoins that of the Taiyal also build huts after the fashion of their more powerful neighbours.

The Ami folk, certainly those living on, or near, the coast, substitute roughly hewn planks or small saplings for bamboo. This may, perhaps, be due to Chinese influence.

The houses of the Bunun and Paiwan are much more substantial, and are constructed on an altogether different principle, these houses being of the “pit-dwelling” type. With these tribes it is to dig a house, rather than to build one, since a larger portion of the structure is below ground than above it. A space about ten feet by twelve is cleared of trees and jungle growth, and a pit is dug. This pit is usually between four and five feet deep. The sides of the pit are lined with slabs of slate, quarried by the tribesmen. These slate walls are carried up about three feet above the surface of the earth, thus giving a wall-height to the house of about seven feet. For the roof bamboo poles are first laid across from wall to wall, then on top of these are placed other slabs of slate, giving the house a substantial, but rather cave-like, appearance.[87] The effect upon a stranger entering a Paiwan village is to make him wonder,[175] first whether he has been transported into a land of gnomes, and secondly—and more seriously—whether or not the gnome-tradition may have arisen from a subterranean-dwelling people similar to the present-day Paiwan.

In all probability the slate pit-dwellings were originally constructed as places of refuge from the warlike, predatory tribes of the North; and judging from the number of enemy skulls in Paiwan villages, these slate refuges were effective. Curiously enough, however, the “bachelor-houses,” in which the young unmarried men live, are built of wood, on high piles, or stakes. The mode of entry to these bachelor-houses has already been described.[88] The young men are supposed to have at least one of their number constantly on guard, in order to detect the possible approach of an enemy. In such an event a warning is given, when the women and children retreat within the slate houses. The married men also repair to their houses, but only long enough to collect their arms; when, having done so, they sally forth to join the bachelors in an attack upon the enemy. Only, as a last resort, when hard pressed by the enemy, do the men—in such an emergency, bachelors as well as married men—retreat within the slate huts and, firing through doors and windows, attempt to keep the enemy at bay. Among the Paiwan the house of a chief has usually three windows, and the house of a commoner always one, sometimes[176] two; consequently this mode of “aggressive defence” is often successful.

Among the peace-loving Yami—the inhabitants of the tiny island of Botel Tobago—slate houses are not found. Family houses, as well as the “long-houses” of the bachelors, are of the “pile-dwelling” variety.


The houses are of the pit-dwelling variety; a larger portion of each house is below ground.

However the dwelling-houses of the different tribes may vary, the millet granaries of all the tribes seem built after an identical pattern. There is in each village of every tribe a communal granary—a hut, built sometimes of wood, sometimes of bamboo, but always supported on pillars, some five or six feet above the ground. Near the top of each of the four pillars is a round piece of wood (among the Paiwan slate is sometimes substituted for wood) supposed to prevent rats and mice “and such small deer” from entering the granary.[89] This rokko, as the Taiyal call the “rat-preventer” (to translate literally), is found in the granaries and store-houses of many of the Oceanic peoples—both in the Lu-chu Islands and in certain parts of Melanesia; a coincidence which is not surprising. It is, however, rather surprising to find the same device used among the Ainu of [177]Hokkaido and Saghalien. This fact tends rather to upset one’s theory that the culture of the Formosan aborigines is of purely Indonesian origin—unless perhaps one accepts the hypothesis that in this instance the Ainu have borrowed a custom from their southern neighbours; or again, unless it be a case of “independent origin,” a discussion of the pros and cons regarding which theory cannot be attempted here.

Far more remarkable than the dwelling-houses or granaries of the Formosan aborigines are the long suspension-bridges, which with marvellous skill they construct of bamboo, held together only with deer-hide thongs, or occasionally with tendrils of a curiously tough vine growing in the mountains, and throw across the deep chasms and ravines which abound in the interior of the island, especially in the mountainous section inhabited by the Taiyal, Bunun, and Paiwan tribes. These bridges are now imitated by the Japanese, as regards shape and construction. Only the material is different, galvanized iron and wire being substituted for bamboo and thongs. Ingenious bamboo fences are also constructed by the Taiyal, surrounding their village communities.

The weapons of the men, bow and arrows and knives, have been referred to before. Both knives and arrow-heads were formerly made of flint, but for many years iron has been used[90];[178] this being obtained by barter, until recently from the Chinese and now usually from the Japanese. The few old stone knives still remaining among them are regarded as sacred, and are used by the priestesses in warding off evil Ottofu at marriage ceremonies and on occasions of illness—as has been described in preceding chapters. The knives are not of the wavy “kris” variety used by some of the Malay peoples, but have one curve, the cutting edge being on the convex side of this curve. The scabbard of this knife consists of a single piece of wood hollowed out to fit the blade. Across the hollowed-out portion are fastened twisted thongs of deer-skin or strips of bamboo, or—when these can be obtained—strips of tin, which hold the knife in place when it is sheathed. Old tomato-cans and milk-tins are now eagerly sought for this purpose, and much in the way of game and millet will be offered for them. The scabbard of a chieftain or of an honoured and successful warrior is decorated with coloured pebbles set into the wood; or, in the case of the Ami, who live near the sea-shore, with bits of shell or of mother-of-pearl. The handle of the knife is bound around with wire, when this can be obtained. Wire is considered highly ornamental, and is greatly prized, and eagerly bargained for. It is used for ornamenting pipes as well as knives, and is also bound about the arms, and worn as bracelets by both women and men; besides being worn as ear-rings by the men—twisted[179] into huge rings, and thrust through holes in the lobes of the ears.

The intimately personal tool of each woman is her millet-hoe, which has already been described.[91] But the pride of the woman of each household is the loom belonging to that household. The construction of this loom can be better understood by looking at the accompanying illustration of a Taiyal woman at her loom than by detailed description. Broadly speaking, the loom is of the Indonesian type, but the trough-like arrangement—the hollowed-out log, around which the warp is wrapped—seems to have been evolved in Formosa alone; I do not know of its occurring elsewhere in Indonesia, or in Melanesia or Polynesia.

The textile that is woven on this loom is made from a sort of native hemp, which grows in the mountains. The only colouring matter obtainable for dyeing the hemp is the juice of a tuber also indigenous to the mountains. This tuber somewhat resembles a very large and rather corrugated potato. The dye obtained from this tuber is of chocolate colour. It is the custom to weave the textile in stripes, uncoloured and dyed strands alternating. The effect is not displeasing, and the material is very strong, lasting for years, and withstanding almost any strain.[92] None of[180] the tribes, however, are satisfied with the subdued shade which their native dye gives; and most of them have for years obtained, through barter, cheap Chinese blankets of brilliant crimson, which they carefully ravel, and with the yarn thus obtained they add fanciful designs in the weaving of their cloth. Much ingenuity is displayed in these designs, which often express a sense of the genuinely artistic, as well as the merely fantastic.[93]

Besides the cloth that is woven on looms, the women also make net-bags, by means of a bamboo shuttle and mesh-gauge, not unlike those used by American Indian women of the western plains—only the shuttle and mesh-gauge of the latter are made of wood instead of bamboo. These bags are of two sizes, the larger for carrying millet and other provisions, the smaller just large enough to hold a human head. It is often upon bags of this latter kind that the greatest amount of time and of ingenuity is expended. Every warrior has one of these bags. Next to his knife, it is his most treasured possession, one which he always takes with him when going upon a head-hunting expedition. If successful, the head of his enemy is brought back in it.


A woman who is not a good weaver or maker of bags is held in contempt by the other women, as well as by the men; and as previously stated—in [181]the chapter dealing with Religion—it is believed that such a woman after death will not be able to cross the bridge which leads to the land of happiness—that occupied by her more skilful sisters and by successful head-hunters. This feeling seems especially strong among the Taiyal people.

In basketry and in the making of caps—a cap in Formosa being only a sort of inverted basket with a visor—the women are as skilful as in the weaving of cloth. This applies to all the tribes. Among the Paiwan, the cap of the successful warrior—and now sometimes of the successful huntsman—is decorated in front, just above the visor, with a sort of rosette of wild boar’s tusks. This is a symbol of honour as significant among the Paiwan as is the tattoo-mark on the chin of the successful warrior among the Taiyal.

While both in the weaving of cloth and of baskets—including basket-caps—the various tribes stand much on a level, there is great difference in skill as regards the making of pottery. In this art the Ami stand pre-eminent among the tribes on the main island.[94] Their pots, however, are crude as compared with those of some of the peoples of the South Pacific. The Ami do not use the coiling process in the making of pottery, nor do they use a potter’s wheel. Their pots are first fashioned roughly by hand; then, while the clay is still soft, a round stone, held in the left hand, is[182] inserted into the interior of the pot. Around this the pot is twirled with the right hand; rather, with a small paddle-like stick held in the right hand. This may perhaps be called an approximation to the potter’s wheel. At any rate, the finishing touches are given with the paddle-shaped stick, which is used for smoothing and making symmetrical the exterior and interior of the vessel. The pot is then dried in the sun, and afterwards baked in a fire usually made of straw, i.e. dried mountain grass of a particular kind.

The Yami of Botel Tobago are skilful pottery-makers, their pots recalling in appearance those of the Papuans; but the other tribes are crude and clumsy in their attempts at the making of pots. These are roughly fashioned by hand, and, as they constantly break, are apparently not sufficiently baked before being used. Consequently for carrying water most of the tribes now use tubes of the great bamboo that grows in Formosa. For cooking they use baskets coated inside and out with clay, as a substitute for pots.

There is reason to believe that the skilful making of pottery was once an art more widely spread among the different tribes than is the case at present. Among many of the tribes there is a tradition that their ancestors were mighty in the making of “vessels moulded from earth.” The Tsarisen not only have this tradition, in common with the other tribes, but also they have kept among them for many generations—just how long[183] there is no means of ascertaining—a few pots more skilfully made than this tribe is capable of making at the present time. These, they assert, were made by their ancestors, who, in turn, were taught by the Ottofu of their own ancestors. These pots are regarded as being most sacred, and are kept in front of the house of the chief of the principal tribal unit. So sacred are these particular pots that only the chief, or members of his immediate family, and the chief priestess of that tribal unit, are allowed to touch them. It is parisha (tabu) for anyone else to touch or even to come within a “body’s length” of the sacred vessels. In Formosa—except among the Ami and the Yami tribes—as in Polynesia, skilful pottery-making seems to be an art that is rapidly dying out.

Implements connected with the harvesting and preparation of millet—a short curved knife for cutting, formerly made of flint, now usually of iron, a winnowing-fan of basket-work, and mortar and pestle of wood—are not dissimilar to those used by other Malay peoples; nor are they unlike those used by the Chinese and Japanese in the harvesting and winnowing of rice. The aborigines, however, except those who have come directly under Chinese and Japanese dominance, look with contempt upon rice-eaters as being unclean—much as the latter regard eaters of beef and potatoes. All tribes among the aborigines seem to regard millet as a sacred food, the use of which[184] was revealed to their ancestors by “further away God-ancestors.”

The agricultural implements of the east coast Ami show greater skill of manufacture than those of the other tribes, this perhaps being due to contact with the Chinese.

The Ami living on, or near, the coast also make—and successfully use—an ingenious fish-trap of bamboo having on the interior sharp spikes or thorns, pointing inward. These act as barbs, and prevent the fish which have entered the basket-like trap from leaving it.


(See page 179.)


Mention has already been made of the bamboo jews’-harp, an instrument which seems common to all the tribes. Besides this, the Taiyal and Tsuou tribes have two other musical instruments, the nose-flute and the musical bow. It is possible that these may be used by other tribes, but I think not commonly so; certainly I have not found them elsewhere than among the Taiyal and Tsuou. And with these tribes the nose-flute is used only by the men; it seems semi-sacred in character, as it is played only on festive occasions, usually when celebrating a victory over another tribe or tribal unit. Not even a priestess will play upon a nose-flute; to do so would be “bad form.” Playing upon this instrument is the exclusive prerogative of the sterner sex—as much so as is the decapitation of enemies, with the celebration of which it seems closely connected.

The musical bow also is usually played by men,[185] although priestesses occasionally use it as an accompaniment to their chanting during ceremonials connected with harvest festivals, and on similar occasions.

In the way of personal adornment, women of all the tribes wear, in addition to the wire bracelets which have previously been referred to, necklaces made of small rectangular bits of bone, carefully polished and strung together on sinews. These bits of bone are usually cut from the femur of the tiny Formosan deer, with which the mountains abound. The Yami women also wear necklaces made of seeds, and sometimes of shells.[95]

The most conspicuous adornments of the women, however, are the tubes of bamboo inserted through holes cut in the lobes of the ears; brightly coloured yarn—when this can be obtained; when not, dried grass—being thrust into the bamboo, forming a sort of rosette at each end of the ear-tube. This is considered highly ornamental by the tribes-people; the larger the bamboo that the lobe of the ears will support without being torn through, the more is its owner admired.




Cutting away of the Lobes of the Ears and knocking out of the Teeth—Significance of the Different Designs of Tattoo-Marking among the Taiyal—Tattooing among the Paiwan.

One form of mutilation—that of perforating the lobes of the ears—was referred to in the last chapter. “Perforating,” however, inadequately describes the cutting away of the major portion of the ear-lobe, leaving only a thin circle of flesh through which is thrust the bamboo ear-plug. As previously described, the bamboo tube is, in the case of women, decorated by having strands of yarn, or of dried grass, threaded through it; this being twisted to form a rosette at either end of the bamboo. Men also wear the bamboo ear-plug, but I have never seen the ear-plug of a man decorated with rosettes.[96] Masculine vanity, as regards the ear, seems to take a different form—that of having rings of wire twisted through the hole in the lobe, between the bamboo ear-plug and the rim of flesh beneath it, so that these[187] “ear-rings” hang from the ear, sometimes jingling as the wearer walks, if he be fortunate enough to secure enough wire to make several rings for each ear. This added weight of the rings of wire depending from the lobe of the ear, which has already been cut to a thin strip—to allow the passage through it of the bamboo plug—sometimes causes the flesh to tear through. The man to whom such an accident happens meets with little sympathy; he is regarded as a weakling, and treated with consequent scorn.

The most painful form of mutilation, however, common among all the tribes except the Ami, is the knocking out of the two upper lateral incisor teeth. This constitutes a sort of puberty ceremony, being performed upon both boys and girls when they reach the age of thirteen or fourteen. Among the Taiyal, the teeth—instead of being knocked out with wooden blocks, as is common among the other tribes—are often extracted with twisted China grass, or with a strand from a loom of one of the women of the tribe. This ceremony is usually performed by a priestess, though among some of the tribal units the honour of performing the dental ceremony is conferred upon a valiant and successful warrior. The reason given for extracting the teeth of youths and maidens is that, as these are now no longer children, they must cease to resemble monkeys and dogs, which have not the wisdom to remove their teeth. As, however, the same custom exists among practically[188] all primitive peoples, the explanation given is a dubious one, and is obviously “thought up” for the sake of satisfying the curiosity of the white man, or woman, who is foolish enough to want to know the “reason why” of customs that all sensible and well-brought-up people follow as a matter of course.

Tattooing is a form of mutilation that is followed by the two large tribes of Taiyal and Paiwan; the small tribe of Saisett imitating the system in vogue among the Taiyal; the Tsarisen and Piyuma imitating that of the Paiwan. The Taiyal system is the most distinctive, and seems to have the greatest significance as indicating the status of the individual in the tribe. The tattooing of the Taiyal is on the face. When a child—whether boy or girl—reaches the age of about five, it has tattooed on its forehead a series of horizontal lines, each line being about half an inch in length. These lines are repeated, one above another, from a point between the eyebrows to one just below the roots of the hair; the design when finished giving the impression of a finely striped rectangle about half an inch in width and two and a half inches in height. Usually several children are tattooed at the same time, and the occasion is made one of feasting and dancing. The children are by this ceremony formally accepted as members of the tribe, entitled to its rights and privileges, and also expected to bear some share of its duties and responsibilities.[189] It is usually at this time that a boy is made to lay his hand upon the head of an enemy decapitated by his father—a custom to which reference has previously been made.

A Japanese lecturer in a paper read before the China Society in London in 1916—and afterwards published—said, in speaking of the Taiyal: “When a boy attains the age of five or six he tattoos on his forehead a series of three blocks of horizontal lines,” etc. “A girl also tattoos her forehead at the same age.”

It was probably the English of the lecturer in question that was at fault, not his knowledge of the subject. As a matter of fact, no child tattoos itself. It is always an adult—usually a priestess—who tattoos the child. The latter reclines upon the ground; the tattooer stands behind the child and strikes its forehead with a tattooing implement. This is a piece of bamboo—occasionally wood—with a number of thorns (from six to ten) fastened at one end, somewhat resembling a miniature toothbrush.[97] Often a block of wood is held in the tattooer’s other hand, and with this the tattooing implement is struck after it has been laid upon the forehead; this ensures a stronger blow, and one more accurately placed. It seems necessary that blood be drawn; this is wiped away, and into each puncture a sort of native lamp-black—obtained by burning oily[190] nuts—is rubbed; the effect is to produce lines in the design described above.

The same method is employed by the priestess in tattooing the bride—a custom to which reference was made in the chapter dealing with Marriage Customs. In this case, however, the tattooing is done upon the cheeks, and in a design quite different from that which is made upon the forehead of the child. The design that indicates matronhood is one that practically covers both cheeks, extending from the mouth (the upper line a little above it; the lower one a little below it, to be exact) to the ear on each side. The design tattooed upon the bride is not rectilinear, as was that tattooed upon her forehead in childhood, but consists of upward-curving lines, between every three or four of which is a row of marks resembling chevrons. That is, this is the design most usually seen. In some cases, however—and this is seen more frequently in the case of women prominent in the tribal unit, therefore is perhaps an insignia of rank or of honour—the design begins with three parallel curving lines, a little space, then another line; immediately below which are two rows of chevrons. The lower row of chevrons rests, as it were, upon another line; again a little space, then four more parallel lines, the whole design, when completed, being one of great elaboration.

As the bride is tattooed after the fashion described, so must the bridegroom also be[191] tattooed. But in his case the tattooing must be done before marriage; this in order to show that he is a successful warrior, and therefore entitled to enter upon the married state. This insignia of honour and of dignity befitting a Benedict consists of tattoo-marks on the chin—a series of straight lines, a little longer than those pricked into the forehead in childhood. By these presents know all men that the chin-tattooed young brave has at least one head to his credit—though in these degenerate days it may be only a head decapitated by his father on which his young hands have been placed. In such a case, however, it is with humiliation and with apologetic explanations that confession is made of the fact that the valour was by proxy.

Among the Paiwan the successful warriors are tattooed on the shoulders, the chest, or the arms; sometimes on all these parts of the body; but less significance seems attached by them to tattoo-marking than is the case among the Taiyal. Social custom seems to allow the Paiwan greater latitude in the choice of design, which seems to be regarded more as of purely ornamental character. It is, however, possible that further research will show as definite a system regarding tattoo-marking and its significance to exist among the Paiwan as among the Taiyal.

Paiwan women are not tattooed on their bodies as the men of the tribe are, or on their faces as are Taiyal women; but only on the backs of their[192] hands—little series of lines that approximate sometimes squares, sometimes circles. The women of the Lu-chu islands have a similar custom. Whether or not there has been any contact between the two peoples would be an interesting subject for investigation.

The custom of circumcision does not seem to exist among any of the Formosan tribes, either as a rite of puberty or of infancy. Nor did I see any evidence while among them of finger mutilation, such as exists among certain peoples in Africa; and also, I believe, among some Australian tribes. Neither do young men pass through the extremely painful initiation rites that are demanded of the young “braves” of certain North American Indian tribes—notably the Sioux—such as hanging suspended from a rod which is passed through the flesh of the shoulders, walking over live coals, or the like. The most painful rite to which either the young man or the young woman is subjected is that of having the teeth extracted. This is usually borne with stoical fortitude, and afterwards the youth or maiden will proudly boast of the fact that the tongue can be seen through the teeth, and will lose no opportunity of broadly smiling to demonstrate the truth of the assertion.




Ami Wheeled Vehicle Resembling Models found in Early Cyprian Tombs—Boat-building and the Art of Navigation on the Decline.

This subject might be dismissed with a word—so little is any method of transport less primitive than that of human shoulders developed among the aboriginal tribes—were it not for two facts which raise interesting questions. One of these has to do with land transport; the other with transport by water.

Regarding the former, the only tribe that uses any sort of wheeled vehicle, or that knows anything of a beast of draught, is the Ami. The vehicle of this tribe is a primitive two-wheeled cart, the interesting point about it being that the solid wheels are fixed to the axle, the latter revolving with each revolution of the wheels. In fact, the construction of the cart causes it to resemble an enormous harrow rather than any vehicle usually associated with transport. The Ami tribes-people, however, are inordinately proud of this invention, which they say was introduced among them by the “White Fathers” (evidently the Dutch) of the “glorious long ago.” This cart is[194] drawn by a “water-buffalo,” a descendant of those said to have been brought to Formosa by the Dutch.[98]

The question of interest in connection with this vehicle is whether or not the Dutch of the seventeenth century used carts of so primitive a type as that now in use among the Ami. Is it not more probable that when the carts introduced by the Dutch fell into decay, the Ami, in their attempts at imitation of the original model, unconsciously reproduced a form of vehicle used by man at the “dawn of history?”[99]

Needless to say, the Ami cart produces a painful creaking, and a sound that can be compared only to a series of groans when it is drawn over the rough roads of the east coast. This, however, apparently adds to its attractiveness in the eyes of its owners.

Whether or not the present-day cart represents the degeneration of a more highly evolved type of vehicle once known to the Ami would be difficult to assert with positiveness. As regards water[195] transport, however, it is almost certain that degeneration has taken place among the Ami, as among the other Formosan tribes, both in the craft of boat-building and in the understanding of navigation. Tribal traditions among all the aborigines point to the fact that their ancestors were skilful navigators and that they understood the construction of boats capable of making long voyages. But the rafts used for fishing at the present time by those tribes living on the east coast could not be used for making even a short sea voyage. Nor could the plank canoes also used for fishing which a few tribal units of the Ami, living near Pinan, build—in obvious, though crude, imitation of the Chinese fishing-junk—be used for navigation.

Of all the aboriginal tribes, the most skilful boat-builders are the Yami, of Botel Tobago. Their boats, like their pottery, resemble more those of the Papuans of the Solomon Islands than they do those of the other Formosan tribes—this both in mode of construction and in ornamentation. These boats are not dug-outs, but are built from tree-trunks, smoothed and trimmed with adzes, lashed together—through holes bored near the seams—with withes of rattan. Prow and stern are rounded in graceful curves. The boats present a picturesque and attractive appearance, but cannot be used for making long voyages.

That the tribes living in the interior of the island should have lost the art of navigation is[196] not surprising, as on the east side of the mountain range—within which section the present “savage territory” lies—there are no navigable rivers, and in the mountains is only one lake, the beautiful Jitsugetsutan (“Sun and Moon Lake”), so-called by the Japanese.[100] On this lake those members of the Taiyal and Tsuou tribes who live near it paddle in their dug-out canoes. These dug-outs, however, are of the most primitive type, with open ends, obviously unfitted for seafaring. Even a storm on the lake sends the canoes hurriedly paddling to shore. But the Ami and the Yami, and also the Paiwan and Piyuma, have not the excuse that applies to the tribes of the interior. Before these tribes lies the open sea, over which their ancestors navigated. That they should have lost the art of building and of navigating seaworthy craft is strange; as strange as is the fact that many of the tribes have lost the art of successful pottery-making, which according to tradition—and also judging from the few ancient specimens preserved among the Tsarisen—their ancestors seem to have possessed.

Whether the losing of these arts implies that the tribes since they have been in Formosa have not had material as suitable for making either seaworthy boats or uncrumbling pottery as they had in the land whence they came, or whether[197] it implies that they are an “ageing” people, a people who have lost their “grip on life,” and have no longer either inventive ability or mechanical skill, is a question which I shall not attempt to answer. It is one which presents an interesting field for speculation and also for further investigation.




“Decadent” or “Primitive”—A Dream of White Saviours from the West.

Whether the Formosan aborigines are a “decadent” people, in the sense suggested in the last chapter, or whether they are “primitive,” in the sense that they are at the beginning of what would be a long racial life—a life with possibilities of intellectual and social evolution—were they given opportunities for the unhampered development of that life, is a question that will probably never be answered. No race, whatever its virility or potentiality for development, can long survive the military despotism of a conquering people; especially when that conquering people is consistently ruthless in the methods it adopts for crushing out the racial individualities of the peoples whom it conquers.

It seems probable that under the dominance of the Japanese the aborigines of Formosa will in a few decades, or, at the longest, in a century or two, have ceased to exist as a people. Unless, indeed, their dream of being rescued from the rule of both Chinese and Japanese by “White Saviours from the West” ever come true; and of this there seems no prospect at the present time. Nor has[199] the white man—if one face the matter honestly—always proved a “saviour” to the aboriginal races with whom he has come into contact. As Bertrand Russell has recently intelligently remarked (Manchester Guardian Weekly, Friday, December 2, 1921) apropos of Japan’s policy in China: “Japan has merely been copying Christian morals.”[101]

The faith of the aboriginal Formosans, however, both in the power and the goodness of the white man—and white woman—is touching in the extreme. This does not happen to be due to the efforts of present-day missionaries, since the efforts of the latter are, as has been previously stated, confined to attempts at Christianizing Chinese-Formosans (those who are usually known as “Formosans”). The reverence among the aborigines for the white race is the result of the Dutch occupation of three hundred years ago—a tradition which has been handed down from generation to generation.




To “wonder furiously”—Better Government, or Worse?—Comparison of Standards—A Conversation with Aborigine Friends—The Question of Money—Tabus.

Looking back over what I learned, during the two years that I was in Formosa, of the manners and customs—collectively speaking—of the aboriginal tribes, and of the outlook on life of these Naturvölker, I am given to “think furiously” along lines other than anthropological; that is, along those that are sociological as well. Rather, perhaps, to “wonder furiously.”

If it be true, as Dr. Tylor—in Primitive Culture—points out, that “no human thought is so primitive as to have lost bearing on our own thought, or so ancient as to have broken connection with our own life,” it opens up an interesting field for speculation. For one thing, as to what would have been the line of social evolution of the so-called superior races had they, like the seban, continued to regard the cutting off of an enemy head as meritorious rather than otherwise. (Yet what is war between “civilized” races, except head-hunting on a grand scale;[201] only with accompanying mangling and gassing and other horrors of which the island seban[102] knows nothing?) And if, also like the seban, prostitution had remained unknown, and the breaking of a promise been regarded as so heinous a crime that only the death of the one guilty of so foul a thing could save his family and relatives and all who came into contact with him from being contaminated by his own uncleanness.

What then? One wonders. What sort of civilization would have been evolved, had culture progressed—as in Europe, for example, in the matter of learning, of arts, and of sciences—yet had the standards of right and wrong remained as they are with the primitive folk among whom I spent two years, and if the fundamental conception of government had remained the same—that of a matriarchal theocracy, which is yet, in a sense, communistic.

Were they, too, matriarchal—the “tattooed and woaded, winter-clad in skins” European forefathers of ours? It is a dangerous thing to assume a unilineal line of evolution. Because there are evidences of mother-right[103] having been dominant in certain parts of the world, or with certain[202] peoples—and of this mother-right still existing in a few isolated instances—it would be rashly unwise to assume, as a few writers and speakers have done, that the female of the species was once the dominant half of the genus homo. However, assuming for the sake of argument—or of phantasy—that matriarchal government was once universal, until the male learned that in the matter of governing the power of brute force equalled, in efficacious results, that of summoning spirits from the vasty deep on the part of priestess and sibyl, or of ruling the tribe through aruspicy and the cries of birds; or until he learned, perhaps, that brute force could even make his own those priestly offices which had been the prerogative of that sex once solely associated with the Mystic Force (by virtue of that medium still regarded by primitive folk as sacred and mysterious).[104]

Suppose, I say—and I underscore suppose—we assume this mother-right—matri-potestal as well as matrilineal and matri-local—once to have existed in Europe in as full force as it still does in a few islands of the South Pacific; and, again, suppose the male had never learned, or never chosen to apply, the force of muscular suasion, what sort of Midsummer’s Night Dream of a world should we have had? Would it have been an Eden—with Adam kept very much in his place—a[203] sort of Golden Age, such as many equal-suffrage advocates assert would be the outcome of matriarchal rule; or would it have resulted in “confusion worse confounded” (in this year of grace, 1922, is such a state possible to conceive?), such as Weininger[105] and his school would assert could be the only result of woman-rule? Or would this school concede that there could be such a thing as a woman-ruled State? Would it not hold, rather, that such an attempt could end only in anarchy?

Yet the realm which the women-chiefs and priestesses of Formosa govern is the reverse of anarchic. Laws there are as the laws of the Medes and Persians; or as those are supposed to have been. Every act of daily life, personal as well as communal, is regulated by law, and any infringement of this law is met with dire penalty. This—incidentally—holds true with all primitive peoples, patriarchal as well as matriarchal. Those who fancy that a “return to nature”—meaning to primitive conditions—would give licence either for lawlessness or for the indulgence without restraint in individual preference, social or political, reckon without knowledge of conditions actually existing in primitive society. One shudders to think what would have been Rousseau’s fate had he really “returned to nature”—i.e. lived among the Naturvölker—and broken tabu of marriage or[204] parenthood. For those who hold in contempt established convention, or life regulated by law, primitive society is not the place.

But to return to the question of gynarchic rule: All the women of this particular island—or of that particular part of it still under aboriginal control and hence matriarchal—are not Sapphos or Katherines—are not even the primitive prototypes of these illustrious ladies—any more than they are simpering Doras,[106] neurotics, or nymphomaniacs. As George Eliot made one of her characters, in speaking of her own sex, remark, “The Lord made ‘em fools to match the men,” so one is inclined to ask, after having seen the practical working of a gynocracy, if women were made also good and bad—in the comprehensive inclusiveness of those words—wise and foolish, to match the so-called sterner sex; the sex which seems, however, in reality neither sterner nor more bloodthirsty than the so-called gentler one; any more than it seems a greater lover of abstract justice, which, according to one English writer, “no woman understands.”[107]

Which train of wondering brings us back to the original wonder with which this chapter started: If our European forefathers had ever, in the dim “once-upon-a-time” of long ago, the same standards of right and wrong as the present-day seban of Formosa; if they, too, were once[205] matri-potestal—what would have been the line of evolution that Europe would have followed had this state of affairs continued, only gradually evolving, through letters and arts, from savagery to so-called civilization? Should we have been better governed or worse?

Or—another wonder intervenes. Would letters and arts have ever developed under a matriarchy? Probably yes. Perhaps even to a greater extent than has been the case during the long centuries of patriarchal rule that have followed the possible once-upon-a-time primitive matriarchates of antiquity. For even recognizing that the creative faculty—artistic and inventive—is the heritage of man rather than of woman, has it not, within historic times, in civilized countries, been ever under queen rulership that letters and art have flourished? Perhaps an unrecognized, sublimated form of sex-instinct—or so a certain school of psycho-analysts would argue—that has spurred masculine creative genius to its highest point; as it spurred, apparently, the venturous spirit of the great explorers, certainly of the Elizabethan age; and as, in a later age in England, it spurred those who dreamed of world conquest in the name of the “Great Good Queen.” Has personal idolatry rendered to a king ever equalled that rendered to a queen, whether by soldier or poet, artist or farm-labourer? The sex instinct here, as in other fields, has played its part, and in this particular field usually for good rather than for[206] evil. Perhaps no more Sapphos would have arisen under the rule of women than of men; but it seems not improbable that more men poets might have arisen, worthily and lustily to sing the praises of queens.

And the governing—worse governed or better under theocratic queens than under kings or under mobs? Not worse, I think. Executive ability seems woman’s in surprising degree where she has had the opportunity to exercise it; often where the exercise of it has been unrecognized, because attributed to the male—her man—who stood before the world, or who sat upon the throne.

As executive and ruler in miniature—executive in the household and ruler over the children, since house, in any form, has existed or maternal responsibility, however elementary, been recognized—executive ability seems to have been developed in women; just as through child-bearing and rearing—or psycho-physical potentiality for this—intellectual creative faculty has, with the normal woman, remained dormant.

So much for wondering over possible might-have-beens in connection with matriarchal government, if this system in some supposititious long-ago ever existed in Europe.

As for the general standards of right and wrong—standards as they exist among the aborigines of Formosa, compared with standards which exist to-day in Europe: Would it be more agreeable to be in danger of losing one’s head, if[207] one went for a sunset stroll and ventured too near enemy territory—provided oneself were not the first to secure the enemy head—yet to know that a word once given, by friend or enemy, would never be broken; that no lock would be needed to guard one’s possessions; that life-insurance had not to be taken into consideration, because, in case of one’s untimely demise, one’s wife and children would, as a matter of course, be given equal provender with the other members of the community; that not only was no special plea for mercy needed for “fatherless children and widows,” but that, as a matter of fact, these usually fared somewhat better than other members of the community, because the widow generally became a priestess, and as such wielded greater power and influence in the community than a mere wife could do?

Also to know that fire-insurance might equally be left out of the reckoning, as in case one’s house were destroyed by fire, all one’s neighbours could be relied upon to build one a new house.

Would it be more agreeable to know that battle, murder, and sudden death were ever-present possibilities, if one happened to be a man and a warrior (and to be one meant being the other), yet to know that while life lasted it would ever be a merry one; that if by chance old age or illness overtook one, one would be cared for, not as a matter of charity, but again—as in the case of widows and orphans—as a matter[208] of course; or to cower before what old age and illness and out-of-work days mean for the poverty-stricken in present-day civilization?

To live knowing that death sudden, yet swift and comparatively painless, might one day be one’s portion—or the portion of one’s husband—yet ever to be certain, while one lived, of a home as good as that of any member of the people to whom one belonged; of clothing and fuel and food in abundance; or to live as the poor in the great cities of Christian civilization live, and to die as they die; to cry not only for bread where there is no bread, but for work where there is no work; in decrepit old age and illness to be cared for by the community, if at all, as a matter of contemptuous pity,—which were preferable?

I tried once to explain something of economic conditions in the white man’s world, and in that of modern Japan, to one of my Formosan aborigine friends. The idea that one should receive more than another, unless that other had by misconduct forfeited his share, was as difficult for my friend to understand as it was that a man could not work who wanted to work, or that there should not be food enough for all. That it was held to be a matter of shame to be helped by the community when one was too old or too ill to work was incomprehensible; as incomprehensible as was the question of prostitution. “But women who live so, how can they have strong sons and daughters?” he asked. “And how[209] can they make good priestesses to the people?” an old priestess who was standing by asked. “Such women destroy faith,” she added, “not build it up for the guidance of men.”

I thought of the Inari temples—those devoted to the worship of the Fox-god—and of the votaries of these temples, in Japan. I thought of the stories of the temples of Babylon, of Egypt, of certain of those in ancient Greece—all these had represented mighty civilizations; the votaries of the Fox-god temples belong to a nation that is to-day one of the great world-powers; while the old Formosan woman was only a savage. How could she know anything of the refinements of civilization, or of what civilization demands?

But those ancient civilizations, I reflected—they were “heathen”; even present-day Japan is “heathen.” As a member of a race that is supposed to uphold Christian civilization and to convert heathen peoples to its tenets, there was momentary unction in this thought. Then, as the old man and old woman stood looking up at me, with inquiring, wrinkled faces, awaiting an answer to questions that would solve the problem that was puzzling them, there flashed across my mind the memory of a Christian temple, in a great Christian capital, which it was the fashion of the more fashionable stratum of the painted ladies of the city to attend, and where——


But no, they were not priestesses; only devotees who exchanged glances with the male devotees, and who after the services spoke with the latter, doubtless for the “upbuilding of their faith.”

And as for the question of the old man; how could women who lived so have strong sons and daughters? I thought of all the painted women of all the great cities of the world—those flaunting their silks and furs and jewels under the electric glare of the great thoroughfares, inviting with smiles and glances; and those others, shivering, wrapping their rags about them in dark corners, croaking, cackling, and clutching desperately, hoping to earn, in an ancient profession of civilization, enough to buy food and drink sufficient to keep life a little longer in unclean, diseased bodies. These women had no children; but I thought of their male companions; some their victims; some who had victimized and had started certain of the painted ones in their profession; some merely the boon companions of an hour. And I thought of hospitals I had visited; of operations that I had witnessed on the wives of the men who had “settled down after sowing a few wild oats”—years of agony in one life as a vicarious atonement for perhaps one night of wine and laughter and song in the life of another. And I thought of children I had seen, and of grandchildren.... It made it a little difficult to explain clearly, to the old man and the old woman, the benefits of a[211] system inextricably interwoven with civilization, ancient and modern; and the reason why this system lent a delicate zest to the art of civilized living. And part of my wonder to-day is: Supposing, supposing, this art—this profession—had never been introduced into society——?

Almost as difficult to answer as was the question of the reason why of money-taking in exchange for love were other questions put to me by aboriginal friends in connection with money. Why money at all? What were the benefits of this “recognized medium of exchange,” and of the great banking systems, which are part of the economic fabric of every civilization of the world. I gave a few coins to some men and women of the Yami tribe; they began to beat them out into thin plates to add to their helmets. I gave some to the Ami people; they drilled holes in them and fastened them, as ornamental buttons, to their blankets. Those that I gave to the Paiwan they inserted in holes in their ears—all except one young warrior who set his ni-ju-sen[108] piece among the boars’ tusks that ornamented his cap. The Taiyal priestess to whom I gave a go-ju-sen[109] piece regarded it with reverence, and carefully wrapped it in a banana-leaf. A short time afterwards I saw her, sitting by the bedside of a patient, balancing the go-ju-sen on a bamboo-rod,[212] gripped between her knees; the small stone generally used on such occasions—mentioned in the chapter Illness and Death—having been replaced by the shining silver coin.

The Taiyal seemed to think that some particularly powerful Ottofu was connected with silver coins. Perhaps the “White Fathers,” and also the Chinese and Japanese, used these shining pieces to draw down the Ottofu of long-departed ancestors; hence had they waxed mighty. That such Ottofu pieces might be used as media of exchange between different tribes, when these were not actively at war with each other—this was comprehensible; but that such should be needed, or conceivably ever used, between members of the same tribe or nation—this was not comprehensible. “Surely man does not kill meat for himself alone, when his brothers, too, are hungry; nor does a woman grow millet for her own children alone, when the children of other women are crying for food.”

Nor could I ever quite make my savage friends realize the blessings of civilization in the matters of the economic system, any more than of the social. They could only comprehend that among the enlightened ones of the world it was somehow tabu for one man to have as many shining pieces as another, or as much meat and drink, as good a house to shelter him from the wind, or as much fuel to make fire in the rainy season, as another, that somehow the shining Ottofu pieces brought[213] these blessings. But just why was it tabu for one man to have more than another? They were much puzzled, until at last one Taiyal man suggested that no doubt the White God-descended Ones knew, in their wisdom, which of their brothers were most worthy, most noble and holy; and to the most holy was awarded the largest share of the Ottofu pieces.

And still I am wondering what if the speculations of my savage friends had been correct—what sort of a Europe should I be living in to-day? How would it contrast with the Europe that is?

When my friends learned of the tabu connected with the shining pieces, they wished to hear more of the tabus of the Great Ones. Were these the same as their own: tabus that surrounded young men and maidens, which prevented the latter from hearing an indelicate word or seeing a coarse gesture, that prevented the marriage of too near relations, that——

“Yes, yes,” I hurried to assent, “among the better classes all these tabus are observed.”

“But,” my interlocutors interrupted, “what is meant by classes, and, if there is more than one class among the same people, why should the young girls of one class be protected more than those of another?”

Again their intelligence failed to grasp my attempts at a logical explanation. But a priestess pressed for further knowledge on the subject of the[214] white man’s—and especially the white woman’s—tabus. Was it tabu for a husband to be either brutal to his wife—— “Yes, among the better——” I began. But the priestess hurried on: “or indelicate in his attentions to her; was she, his wife—as regards marital relations—to be tabu to him altogether before the birth of her children, and for some time afterwards? Was a disloyal husband himself so tabu that, even in the tribes where he was not beheaded or stoned to death, no self-respecting member of the community—either man or woman—would speak to him or supply him with food; so that he had to flee to the woods and live as an outcast?”

I tried to explain that it was difficult to know; one could not be sure, for there were some points on which neither men nor women always told the exact truth.

“But not to tell the truth!” my friends cried in chorus. “Surely the curses of their ancestors are on those who do not speak the truth!”

And I thought, or tried to think, of a civilization—white or yellow—in which men and women spoke always the truth, with nothing added, nothing suppressed; where “yea” meant always yea, and “nay,” nay; where the realization that anything more “cometh of evil” was put into practice; consequently the anything more left unsaid. And still I am trying to think what civilization[215] under these conditions would mean. Civilization—I am wondering.

Since my sojourn among the men and women who live in the mountains of Formosa that word—civilization—has had a new meaning; been a new source of wonder to me.



characteristics, 95 et seq., 105
future of, 198 et seq.
population, 87, 88
social organisation of, 109 et seq., 125-126
Aetas, 64, 106
Agricultural implements, 183, 184
Ainu of Hokkaido, 177
Saghalien, 177
Aiyu-sen, 100
American Indians, 103
Ami tribe, the, 75, 87, 99, 101, 103, 104
arts and crafts of, 174, 181, 182
characteristics of, 76, 211
customs of, 74, 114, 117, 122, 124, 128, 169, 187
marriage of, 154-156, 160-162
religion, 131-133, 151
traditions of, 96
transport, 193-195
Amoy dialect, 87, 103
Andaman islanders, 107, 126
Anping, 43, 49, 51
Arapani, 134
Archery, 120
Arizona, 28
Arts and crafts, 173 et seq.
Ashikaga dynasty, 44

“Bachelor-house” system, 122, 123
Bartsing, 131
Basketry, 181
Berri berri, 89
Botel Tobago, 97, 104, 114, 148, 149, 150, 176, 182
“Bradyaga,” 55
British trade, 51
Bunun tribe, the, 70
arts and crafts of, 99, 174, 177
characteristics of, 102, 103
customs of, 111, 169, 170 et seq.
marriage, 159
Bunun religion, 137, 139, 140
Bureau of Aboriginal Affairs, 101

Camphor, 31, 70
factories, 70, 90
wood, 69
Candidius, Father, 52, 91, 150, 196
Caps, 181
Chastity, 109
Children, 121, 122
China, 31, 37, 38, 39, 43, 44, 46, 49, 89
China grass, 120, 187
China Review, the, 103, 104
China Sea, 29
classification of tribes, 104
coolies, 79
customs, 169
dominance of Formosan, 49, 54 et seq.
expedition to Formosa, 42
influence in Formosa, 174
pirates, 45
population, 86, 87
records of Formosa, 37 et seq.
treatment of Aborigines, 88
under Japanese rule, 54
Chinese-Formosans, 37, 38, 51, 52, 58 et seq., 69, 88, 101
dialect, 78
villages, 74
Chin-Huan, 103, 104, 111, 127, 128, 154
Circumcision, 192
Clothing, 113
Cogett, Governor, 54
Communal system, 109
Confucian ethics, 81
Confucius, sayings of, 58

Dancing, 113
“Dead houses,” 168
Death, 163 et seq.
[218]Deniker’s The Races of Man, 110
de Valdez, Don Antonio de Careño, 50
Dgagha, 131
Divorce, 107
Dominican Friars, 51
Dutch, the:
dominance of, 47 et seq., 90
education, 91
exit from Formosa, 54
first landing of, 47
influences of, 52, 53, 104, 194, 199
missionaries, 52, 53, 166
records, 166
Dutch East Indies, 54
Dwelling-houses, 173
Dyaks of Borneo, 110, 111
Dyes, 179

Ear-rings, 178, 186, 187
Evil omens, 113
Exogamy, 141, 161

Filipinos, 95
Fokien Province, 41, 42, 87
Foochow, 38
dialect, 87
Fort Zelandia, 49, 50

Game hunting, 119
Gan Shi-sai, 45
Garanbi, Cape, 38, 116
Geisha system, 129
Giran, 71
Go-ju-sen, 211
Granaries, 124
Gravius (Dutch Minister), 52
Great Daimyos, 44
Guam, 126
Gynarchic rule, 204

Hachiman, 44
Hakkas, 46, 59, 86
Hamay, 95
Hawaii, 28
Head-hunting, 109 et seq.
“Hoe-culture,” 125
Holland, 49
Hong-Kong, 37
Houi, Mr., 70

Igorotes, 95, 96
Illness, customs in, 163 et seq.
Implements, 183, 184
Inari temples, 209
Indonesian origins, 97
Indoneso-Malay stock, 95
Iron, 41, 42
Ishii, Mr., 100, 101, 105

Japanese Chronicle, the, 32
Japanese classification of tribes, 102 et seq.
domination of Taruko, 106
education, 35, 89
first associations with Formosa, 44, 47
laws, 118
officialdom, 36, 58, 62 et seq.
pirates, 44, 45
population in Formosa, 87
tradition, 134
treatment of Chinese, 89
treatment of foreigners, 33
treatment of Formosans, 31, 32, 58, 89, 100, 198
Jitsugetsutan, 196

Kagoshima, 35, 36
Kakring, 130 et seq.
Kalapiat, 130 et seq.
Karenko, 71, 72
Keelung, 35, 44, 45, 50, 51, 55, 57, 58, 59, 62, 63, 64, 71, 72
Kipling, 56
Kobe, 32
Koksinga, 45, 54, 88
Korea, 33, 199
Kwantung, Province of, 86
Kyoto, 34

Ladrone Islands, 126
Linguistic affinity of tribes, 98
Linschotten, 46
Little Lu-chu, 43
Looms, 179
Lowie, 125
Lu-chu Islands, 39, 42, 43, 176, 192
Luzon (Philippines), 95, 96

Macao, 49
Mahayana Buddhism, 34
Malay language, 99
Malay origins, 40
Manila, 29
Maori skulls, 96
Marianne Islands, 126
Marin, Mr., 70
Marital fidelity, 128
Marriage, 110, 128, 152 et seq., 190, 191
Masculine vanity, 186
Matriarchate, 27, 28
[219]government by, 201 et seq.
Matrilineal tribes, 27, 28
Matrilocal tribes, 27, 28
Ma Tuan-hui, 40
Mavayaiya, 118, 136
Melanesia, 176
Millet, 183
granaries, 176
hoe, 179
wine, 118
Mindanao, 50
Ming dynasty, 43, 44
Missionaries, 31, 36, 65, 73
Monkeys, 118
Monogamy, 109, 128
Moors, the, 50
Mother-of-pearl, 178
Mother-right, 109
Mt. Morrison, 38
Mt. Sylvia, 38
Musical instruments, 184
Mutilation, 86 et seq.

Nagasaki, 29
Nevada, 28
New Mexico, 28
Ni-ju-sen, 211

Ornaments, 185
Ottofu, 163-165, 168, 183, 212
Ox-hide, 47, 48
Paiwan tribe, the, 87, 99, 100, 101
arts and crafts, 174, 175, 177, 196
characteristics of, 103, 211
chieftainship of, 121
contact with the Chinese, 104
head-hunting, 102, 111, 119
marriage, 154, 159
religion, 134-136, 151
trading, 128
traditions, 116
Papuans, 195
Patrilocal tribes, 27
Pepo-huan, 103, 104
Pescadores, 39, 44, 47, 49
Philippine Islands, 28, 50, 64, 95, 106
Pigmy people, 106
women, 107, 108
Pinan, 71, 73, 74, 133
Pithecanthropus, 28
Piyuma tribe, the, 99, 100
arts and crafts, 196
chieftainship, 121
customs, 117, 118, 122, 188
marriage, 154, 160, 161
religion, 134
Polynesian skulls, 96
Portuguese, the, 46, 94
Pottery, 181 et seq.

Religion, 130 et seq.
Reyersz, Admiral Cornelius, 49
Rice-paddies, 30, 52, 60, 61
Russell, Bertrand, 199

Saisett tribe, the, 70, 99, 100, 102
marriage, 162
religion, 148
tattooing, 188
Sakurajuma, 35
Salt, 128
Samurai, 63
San Domingo, 50
Schetelig, Arnold, 96
Seban, 80, 81, 82, 200, 201
Sek-huan, 74, 103, 104
Sex, 153 et seq.
Shimonoseki, treaty of, 87
Shin-shu, 34
Siam, 43
Sino-Japanese War, 54, 88
Smoking, 113
Solomon Islands, 195
South China Sea, 29
Spain, 50, 51
Sugar, 31
Sui dynasty, 39, 98
Sun and Moon Lake, 196
Suspension-bridges, 177
Tabu, 161, 183
Tagalog tribe, 96, 134
Taihoku, 34, 35, 58, 59, 61, 64, 70
Tainan, 43, 45, 47, 49
Taiwan, 29, 43
Taiyal tribe, the:
arts and crafts, 173, 184
characteristics of, 96, 103, 105, 106, 127, 211
customs, 114, 125, 165, 168, 169, 187
head-hunting, 111, 112, 115
marriage, 152, 157, 159, 160
religion, 139 et seq., 181, 212
social organization, 120, 124
tattooing, 160, 161, 188, 191
transport, 196
Takao, 51, 71, 72, 74, 104
Takasago, 45
Taketon-Monogabari, 134
Tamsui, 50, 51
Taruko group, 105
Tattooing, 111, 112, 188 et seq.
[220]Taylor, George, 116
Tea, 31
Teeth, 187
Terrace beach, 29, 30
Theriolatry, 135
Tobacco, 114
Totems, 135, 141, 146
Transport, 193 et seq.
Tribes, classification of, 103-104
Tropic of Cancer, 30
Tsarisen tribe, the, 99, 100
marriage, 161
religion, 136, 137
Tsuou tribe, the, 99
arts and crafts, 184
customs, 122, 188
marriage, 156
religion, 137-138
transport, 196
Tuber-juice, 179
Tung-Hai, 36
“Two-Button” officials, 34
Tyler, Dr., 200

Van Marwijk, Admiral, 47

Wallace’s Malay Archipelago, 99
Wan San-ho, 43, 44
Weapons, 120, 177, 178
Weaving, 179, 180
Weininger, Otto, 203
Wire, 178

Yami tribe, the, 99
arts and crafts, 176, 182, 185, 195
characteristics, 103, 211
customs, 97, 172, 114
religion, 148-150
Yangtsein, Admiral, 42
Yoshiwara, 129
Yuan dynasty, 42

Zen-shu, 34

Printed in Great Britain by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.




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“To the ever-increasing number of collectors who are taking an interest in old English pottery ... will be found one of the most delightful, as it is a practical work on a fascinating subject.”

Hearth and Home.

“Here we have a handbook, written by a well-known authority, which gives in the concisest possible form all the information that the beginner in earthenware collecting is likely to need. Moreover, it contains one or two features that are not usually found in the multifarious ‘guides’ that are produced to-day.”


Chats on Autographs. By A. M. Broadley. With 130 Illustrations. Cloth, 6s. net.

“Being an expert collector, Mr. Broadley not only discourses on the kinds of autograph he owns, but gives some excellent cautionary advice and a valuable ‘caveat emptor’ chapter for the benefit of other collectors.”

Westminster Gazette.

“It is assuredly the best work of the kind yet given to the public; and supplies the intending collector with the various sources of information necessary to his equipment.”

Manchester Guardian.

Chats on Old Pewter. By H. J. L. J. Massé, M.A. With 52 half-tone and numerous other Illustrations. Cloth, 10s. 6d. net. Second Impression.

“It is a remarkably thorough and well-arranged guide to the subject, supplied with useful illustrations and with lists of pewterers and of their marks so complete as to make it a very complete and satisfactory book of reference.”

Manchester Guardian.

“Before setting out to collect old pewter it would be as well to read Mr. Massé’s book, which is exhaustive in its information and its lists of pewterers, analytical index, and historical and technical chapters.”


Chats on Postage Stamps. By Fred J. Melville. With 57 half-tone and 17 line Illustrations. Cloth, 10s. 6d. net. Second Impression.

“The whole book, with its numerous illustrations of excellent quality, is a vade mecum for stamp collectors, even though their efforts may be but modest; we congratulate Mr. Melville on a remarkably good guide, which makes fascinating reading.”


“There is no doubt that Mr. Melville’s book fills a void. There is nothing exactly like it. Agreeably written in a popular style and adequately illustrated, it is certainly one of the best guides to philatelic knowledge that have yet been published.”



Chats on Old Jewellery and Trinkets. By MacIver Percival. With nearly 300 Illustrations. Cloth, 6s. net.

“The book is very thorough, dealing as it does with classic, antique and modern ornaments; with gold, silver, steel and pinchbeck; with the precious stones, the commoner stones and imitation.”


“‘Chats on Old Jewellery and Trinkets’ is a book which will enable every woman to turn over her jewel-case with a fresh interest and a new intelligence; a practical guide for the humble but anxious collector.... A good glossary of technicalities and many excellent illustrations complete a valuable contribution to collector’s lore.”

Illustrated London News.

Chats on Cottage and Farmhouse Furniture. A companion volume to “Chats on Old Furniture.” By Arthur Hayden. With a coloured frontispiece and 75 other Illustrations. Cloth, 15s. net. Third Impression.

“One gets very much for one’s money in this book. Seventy-three full-page illustrations in half-tone embellish a letterpress which is replete with wise description and valuable hints.”

Vanity Fair.

“Mr. Hayden’s book is a guide to all sorts of desirable and simple furniture, from Stuart to Georgian, and it is a delight to read as well as a sure help to selection.”

Pall Mall Gazette.

“Mr. Hayden writes lucidly and is careful and accurate in his statements; while the advice he gives to collectors is both sound and reasonable.”

Westminster Gazette.

Chats on Old Coins. By Fred W. Burgess. With a coloured frontispiece and 258 other Illustrations. Cloth, 10s. 6d. net. Second Impression.

“A most useful and instructive book ... will prove a boon to the intending collector of old coins and tokens, and full of interest to every collector. As was to be expected of any volume of this series, the illustrations are numerous and good, and greatly assist the reader to grasp the essentials of the author’s descriptions.”


“The author has not only produced ‘a practical guide for the collector’ but a handy book of reference for all. The volume is wonderfully cheap.”

Notes and Queries.

Chats on Old Copper and Brass. By Fred W. Burgess. With a coloured frontispiece and 86 other Illustrations. Cloth, 6s. net.

“Mr. F. W. Burgess is an expert on old copper and bronze, and in his book there is little information lacking which the most ardent collector might want.”

The Observer.

“Italian bronzes, African charms, Chinese and Japanese enamels, bells, mortars, Indian idols, dials, candlesticks, and snuff boxes, all come in for their share of attention, and the reader who has mastered Mr. Burgess’s pages can face his rival in the auction-room or the dealer in his shop with little fear of suffering by the transaction.”

The Nation.


Chats on Household Curios. By Fred W. Burgess. With 94 Illustrations. Cloth, 6s. net.

“Mr. Burgess gives much information about such attractive antiques as old glass and enamels, old leather work, old clocks and watches, old pipes, old seals, musical instruments, and even old samplers and children’s toys. The book is, in short, an excellent and comprehensive guide for what one may call the general collector, that is, the collector who does not confine himself to one class of antique, but buys whatever he comes across in the curio line, provided that it is interesting and at moderate price.”

Aberdeen Free Press.

Chats on Japanese Prints. By Arthur Davison Ficke. With a coloured frontispiece and 56 Illustrations. Cloth, 6s. net. Third Impression.

“Mr. Ficke writes with the knowledge of the expert, and his history of Japanese printing from very early times and his criticism of the artists’ work are wonderfully interesting.”


“This is one of the most delightful and notable members of an attractive series.... A beginner who shall have mastered and made thoroughly his own the beauty of line and the various subtlety and boldness of linear composition displayed in these sixty and odd photographs will have no mean foundation for further study.”

Notes and Queries.

Chats on Old Clocks. By Arthur Hayden. With a frontispiece and 80 Illustrations. 2nd Ed. Cloth, 10s. 6d. net.

“A practical handbook dealing with the examples of old clocks likely to come under the observation of the collector. Charmingly written and illustrated.”


“One specially useful feature of the work is the prominence Mr. Hayden has given to the makers of clocks, dealing not only with those of London, but also those of the leading provincial towns. The lists he gives of the latter are highly valuable, as they are not to be found in any similar book. The volume is, as usual with this series, profusely illustrated, and may be recommended as a highly interesting and useful general guide to collectors of clocks.”

The Connoisseur.

Chats on Old Silver. By Arthur Hayden. With a frontispiece, 99 full-page Illustrations, and illustrated table of marks. Cloth, 10s. 6d. net. Third Impression.

“Mr. Hayden’s ‘Chats on Old Silver’ deals very thoroughly with a popular branch of collecting. There are a hundred full-page illustrations together with illustrated tables and charts, and the student of this book can wander round the old curiosity shops of these islands with a valuable equipment of knowledge.... Altogether we have here a well-written summary of everything that one could wish to know about this branch of collecting.”

The Sphere.

“The information it gives will be of exceptional value at this time, when so many families will be forced to part with their treasures—and old silver is among the most precious possessions of the present day.”

Morning Post.


Chats on Military Curios. By Stanley C. Johnson, M.A., D.Sc. With a coloured frontispiece and 79 other Illustrations. Cloth, 6s. net.

“Mr. Johnson in this book describes many of the articles a collector should be on the look out for, giving short but informative notes on medals, helmet and cap badges, tunic buttons, armour, weapons of all kinds, medallions, autographs, original documents relating to Army work, military pictures and prints, newspaper cuttings, obsolete uniforms, crests, stamps, postmarks, memorial brasses, money and curios made by prisoners of war, while there is also an excellent biography on the subject. The author has, indeed, presented the reader with a capital working handbook, which should prove a friendly and reliable guide when he goes collecting.”


Chats on Royal Copenhagen Porcelain. By Arthur Hayden. With a frontispiece, 56 full-page Illustrations and illustrated tables of marks. Cloth, 10s. 6d. net.

“This very beautiful and very valuable book will be eagerly welcomed by lovers of porcelain.... Mr. Hayden describes with great skill and preciseness all the quality and beauty of technique in which this porcelain excels; he loves it and understands it, and the examples he has chosen as illustrations are a valuable supplement to his descriptions.”


Chats on Old Sheffield Plate. By Arthur Hayden. With frontispiece and 58 full-page Illustrations, together with makers’ marks. Cloth, 21s. net.

Old plated ware has, by reason of its artistic excellence and its technique, deservedly won favour with collectors. The art of making plated ware, which originated at Sheffield (hence the name “Sheffield plate”), was continued at Birmingham and London, where a considerable amount of “old Sheffield plate” was made, in the manner of its first inventors, by welding sheets of silver upon copper. The manufacture lasted roughly a hundred years. Its best period was from 1776 (American Declaration of Independence) to 1830 (Accession of William IV). The author shows reasons why this old Sheffield plate should be collected, and the volume is illustrated with many examples giving various styles and the development of the art, together with makers’ marks. Candlesticks and[232] candelabra, tea-caddies, sugar-baskets, salt-cellars, tea-pots, coffee-pots, salvers, spoons, and many other articles shown and described in the volume indicate the exquisite craftsmanship of the best period. The work stands as a companion volume to the author’s “Chats on Old Silver,” the standard practical guide to old English silver collecting.

Bye Paths in Curio Collecting. By Arthur Hayden, Author of “Chats on Old Silver,” etc. With a frontispiece and 72 full-page Illustrations. Cloth, 21s. net. Second Impression.

“Every collector knows the name of Mr. Arthur Hayden, and knows him for a wise counsellor. Upon old furniture, old china, old pottery, and old prints there is no more knowing judge in the country; and in his latest volume he supplies a notable need, in the shape of a vade-mecum exploring some of the nondescript and little traversed bye-paths of the collector. There was never a time when the amateur of the antique stood more in need of a competent guide.... The man who wishes to avoid the pitfalls of the fraudulent will find much salutary advice in Mr. Hayden’s gossipy pages. There are chests, for example, a fruitful field for reproduction. Mr. Hayden gives photographs of many exquisite examples. There is a marriage coffer of the sixteenth century, decorated with carved figures of Cupid and Hymen, a fine Gothic chest of the fifteenth century, with rich foliated decorations; and a superb livery cupboard from Haddon Hall. From Flanders come steel coffers, with a lock of four bolts, the heavy sides strongly braized together. Then there are snuffers, with and without trays, tinder-boxes, snuff graters, and metal tobacco stoppers. The most fascinating designs are shown, with squirrels, dogs, and quaint human figures at the summit. Fans and playing-cards provide another attractive section.

Chicken-skin, delicate, white,
Painted by Carlo van Loo.

The fan has always been an object of the collector’s passion, because of the grace of the article and its beauty as a display. Mr. Hayden shows a particularly beautiful one, with designs after Fragonard, the sticks of ivory with jewelled studs. Then there are watch-stands, a little baroque in design, and table-bells, some of them shaped as female figures with spreading skirts, old toys and picture-books, and, of course, cradles, of which every English farm-house once boasted its local variety. Altogether the book abounds in inviting pictures and curious information, and is certain of a large, appreciative public.”

Daily Telegraph.

The Fan Book: Including Special Chapters on European Fans of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. By MacIver Percival, author of “Chats on Old Jewellery and Trinkets.” Fully Illustrated. Demy 8vo, cloth, 21s. net.




SONGS OF A SOURDOUGH. By Robert W. Service. Crown 8vo. Cloth, 4/6 net. Fortieth Impression. Also a Pocket edition. Fcap. 8vo, cloth, 4/6 net.

“Of the Canadian disciples of Kipling, by far the best is R. W. Service. His ‘Songs of a Sourdough’ have run through many editions. Much of his verse has a touch of real originality, conveying as it does a just impression of the something evil and askew in the strange, uncouth wilderness of the High North.”

The Times.

“Mr. Service has got nearer to the heart of the old-time place miner than any other verse-maker in all the length and height of the Dominion.... He certainly sees the Northern Wilderness through the eyes of the man into whose soul it is entered.”

Morning Post.

RHYMES OF A RED-CROSS MAN. By Robert W. Service. Crown 8vo. Cloth, 4/6 net. Sixth Impression. Also a Pocket edition. Fcap. 8vo, cloth, 4/6 net.

“It is the great merit of Mr. Service’s verses that they are literally alive with the stress and joy and agony and hardship that make up life out in the battle zone. He has never written better than in this book, and that is saying a great deal.”


“Mr. Service has painted for us the unutterable tragedy of the war, the horror, the waste, and the suffering, but side by side with that he has set the heroism, the endurance, the unfailing cheerfulness and the unquenchable laughter.”

Scots Pictorial.


BALLADS OF A CHEECHAKO. By Robert W. Service. Crown 8vo. Cloth, 4/6 net. Fourteenth Impression. Also a Pocket edition. Fcap. 8vo, Cloth, 4/6 net.

“It is to men like Mr. Service that we must look for really original verse nowadays; to the men on the frontiers of the world. ‘Ballads of a Cheechako’ is magnificent.”

Oxford Magazine.

“All are interesting, arresting, and worth reading in their own setting for their own sakes. They are full of life and fire and muscularity, like the strenuous and devil-may-care fight of a life they describe.”


RHYMES OF A ROLLING STONE. By Robert W. Service. Crown 8vo. Cloth, 4/6 net. Fifteenth Impression. Also a Pocket edition. Fcap. 8vo, Cloth, 4/6 net.

“There is real rollicking fun in some of the rhymed stories, and some sound philosophy in the shorter serious poems which shows that Mr. Service is as many steps above the ordinary lesser poets in his thought as he is in his accomplishments.”


“Mr. Robert Service is, we suppose, one of the most popular verse-writers in the world. His swinging measures, his robust ballads of the outposts, his joy of living have fairly caught the ear of his countrymen.”


THE SPELL OF THE TROPICS. By Randolph H. Atkin. Cloth, 4/6 net. Second Impression.

The poems are striking pen-pictures of life as it is lived by those men of the English-speaking races whose lot is cast in the sun-bathed countries of Latin-America. Mr. Atkin’s verses will reach the hearts of all who feel the call of the wanderlust, and, having shared their pleasures and hardships, his poems will vividly recall to “old-timers” bygone memories of days spent in the Land of the Coconut Tree.


THE SONG OF TIADATHA. By Owen Rutter. Cloth, 4/6 net. Third Impression.

Composed on the familiar metre of “Hiawatha,” “The Song of Tiadatha” (Tired Arthur), an extravaganza written in the highest spirits, nevertheless is an epic of the war. It typifies what innumerable soldiers have seen and done and the manner in which they took it.

“This song of Tiadatha is nothing less than a little English epic of the war.”

The Morning Post.

“Every Army officer and ex-officer will hail Tiadatha as a brother. ‘The Song of Tiadatha’ is one of the happiest skits born of the war.”

Evening Standard.

SONGS OUT OF EXILE: Being Verses of African Sunshine and Shadow and Black Man’s Twilight. By Cullen Gouldsbury. Cloth, 4/6 net. Fourth Impression.

“The ‘Rhodesian Rhymes’ won for their author the journalistic title of ‘The Kipling of South Africa,’ and indeed his work is full of crisp vigour, fire and colour. It is brutal in parts; but its brutality is strong and realistic. Mr. Gouldsbury has spent many years in Rhodesia, and its life, black and white, is thoroughly familiar to him.... Mr. Gouldsbury is undoubtedly a writer to be reckoned with. His verse is informed by knowledge of wild life in open places and a measure of genuine feeling which make it real poetry.”


FROM THE OUTPOSTS. By Cullen Gouldsbury. Cloth, 4/6 net. Third Impression.

“Mr. Cullen Gouldsbury’s collections of his verses are always welcome, and the last, ‘From the Outposts’ is as good as its predecessor. No one has quite Mr. Gouldsbury’s experience and gift.”


“It has been well said that Mr. Gouldsbury has done for the white man in Africa what Adam Lindsay Gordon in a measure accomplished for the Commonwealth and Kipling triumphantly for the British race, and he certainly is good to read.”



THE HELL-GATE OF SOISSONS and other Poems. (“The Song of the Guns.”) By Herbert Kaufman. Cloth, 4/6 net. Fifth Impression.

“A singular gift for expressing in verse the facts, the heroism, even the humours of war; and in some cases voices its ideals with real eloquence.”

The Times.

“Mr. Kaufman has undoubtedly given us a book worthy of the great hour that has brought it forth. He is a poet with a martial spirit and a deep, manly voice.”

Daily Mail.

LYRA NIGERIA. By Adamu. (E. C. Adams). Cloth, 4/6 net. Second Impression.

“Mr. E. C. Adams (Adamu) is a singer of Nigeria, and it can safely be said he has few, if any, rivals. There is something in these illustrations of Nigerian life akin to the style of Kipling and Service. The heart of the wanderer and adventurer is revealed, and in particular that spirit of longing which comes to all ... who have gone out to the far-lands of the world.”

Dundee Advertiser.

SUNNY SONGS. Poems. By Edgar A. Guest. Cloth, 4/6 net.

In America Mr. Guest is an extraordinarily popular writer of verses, though this is his first introduction in book form to the British public. He brims over with sound sense and tonic cheeriness. He is keenly sensible of the humour of domestic life, but is deeply sympathetic with the associations which combine in the word “Home.” Hence he is read by women with amusement and pleasure. During the war his poem, “Said the Workman to the Soldier,” circulated by the hundred thousand. Like Béranger and all successful poets, he is essentially lyrical; that is to say, there is tune and swing in all his verses.



POEMS AND SONGS (First Series). By Richard Middleton. Cloth, 5/- net.

“We have no hesitation in placing the name of Richard Middleton beside the names of all that galaxy of poets that made the later Victorian era the most brilliant in poetry that England had known since the Elizabethan.”

Westminster Review.

POEMS AND SONGS (Second Series). By Richard Middleton. Cloth, 5/- net.

“Their beauty is undeniable and often of extraordinary delicacy for Middleton had a mastery of craftmanship such as is usually given to men of a far wider imaginative experience.”

Poetry Review.

“Among the ‘Poems and Songs’ of Richard Middleton are to be found some of the finest of contemporary lyrics.”

Country Life.



THE WAITING WOMAN and other Poems. By Herbert Kaufman. Cloth, 4/6 net.

“Mr. Kaufman’s work possesses in a high degree the qualities of sincerity and truth, and it therefore never fails to move the reader.... This volume, in short, is the work of a genuine poet and artist.”

Aberdeen Free Press.

“A versifier of great virility and power.”

Review of Reviews.



POEMS. By W. B. Yeats. Second edition. Large Crown 8vo, Cloth, 10/6 net. Ninth Impression.

“Love songs, faery themes, moods of meditation, scenes of legendary wonder ... is it possible that they should become so infinitely thrilling, touching, haunting in their fresh treatment, as though they had never been, or poets had never turned to them? In this poet’s hands they do so become. Mr. Yeats has given us a new thrill of delight, a new experience of beauty.”

Daily Chronicle.


COUNTESS CATHLEEN. A Dramatic Poem. Paper cover, 2/- net.

THE LAND OF HEART’S DESIRE. Paper cover, 1/6 net.

WHY DON’T THEY CHEER? By R. J. C. Stead. Cloth, 4/6 net.

“Before the war Mr. Stead was known to Canadians as ‘The Poet of the Prairies.’ He must now be ranked as a ‘Poet of the Empire.’ ... There is a strength, a beauty, a restrained passion in his war verses which prove his ability to penetrate into the heart of things such as very few of our war poets have exhibited.”

Daily Express.

SWORDS AND FLUTES. By William Kean Seymour. Cloth, 4/- net.

“Among the younger poets Mr. Seymour is distinguished by his delicacy of technique. ‘Swords and Flutes’ is a book of grave and tender beauty expressed in lucent thought and jewelled words. ‘The Ambush’ is a lyric of mastery and fascination, alike in conception and rhythm, which should be included in any representative anthology of Georgian poetry.”

Daily Express.




Literal Reproductions of the Old Text. With Photogravure Frontispieces. Thin Paper edition. School Edition, Boards, 3/-net; Cloth, 5/-net; Leather, 7/6 net each volume.

Marlowe. THE BEST PLAYS OF CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE. Edited, with Critical Memoir and Notes, by Havelock Ellis; and containing a General Introduction to the Series by John Addington Symonds.

Otway. THE BEST PLAYS OF THOMAS OTWAY. Introduction and Notes by the Hon. Roden Noel.

Ford. THE BEST PLAYS OF JOHN FORD. Edited by Havelock Ellis.

Massinger. THE BEST PLAYS OF PHILLIP MASSINGER. With Critical and Biographical Essay and Notes by Arthur Symons.

Heywood (T.). THE BEST PLAYS OF THOMAS HEYWOOD. Edited by A. W. Verity. With Introduction by J. A. Symonds.

Wycherley. THE COMPLETE PLAYS OF WILLIAM WYCHERLEY. Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by W. C. Ward.

NERO AND OTHER PLAYS. Edited by H. P. Horne, Arthur Symons, A. W. Verity and H. Ellis.

Beaumont. THE BEST PLAYS OF BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. Introduction and Notes by J. St. Loe Strachey. 2 vols.


Symonds (J. A.). THE BEST PLAYS OF WEBSTER AND TOURNEUR. With an Introduction and Notes by John Addington Symonds.


Middleton (T.). THE BEST PLAYS OF THOMAS MIDDLETON. With an Introduction by Algernon Charles Swinburne. 2 vols.

Shirley. THE BEST PLAYS OF JAMES SHIRLEY. With Introduction by Edmund Gosse.

Dekker. THE BEST PLAYS OF THOMAS DEKKER. Notes by Ernest Rhys.

Steele (R.). THE COMPLETE PLAYS OF RICHARD STEELE. Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by G. A. Aitken.

Jonson. THE BEST PLAYS OF BEN JONSON. Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by Brinsley Nicholson and C. H. Herford. 2 vols.

Chapman. THE BEST PLAYS OF GEORGE CHAPMAN. Edited by William Lyon Phelps.

Vanbrugh. THE SELECT PLAYS OF SIR JOHN VANBRUGH. Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by A. E. H. Swain.

Shadwell. THE BEST PLAYS OF THOMAS SHADWELL. Edited by George Saintsbury.

Dryden. THE BEST PLAYS OF JOHN DRYDEN. Edited by George Saintsbury. 2 vols.

Farquhar. THE BEST PLAYS OF GEORGE FARQUHAR. Edited, and with an Introduction, by William Archer.

Greene. THE COMPLETE PLAYS OF ROBERT GREENE. Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by Thomas H. Dickinson.




When in 1906 Mr. Fisher Unwin commissioned the late Major Martin Hume to prepare a series of volumes by experts on the South American Republics, but little interest had been taken in the country as a possible field for commercial development. The chief reasons for this were ignorance as to the trade conditions and the varied resources of the country, and the general unrest and instability of most of the governments. With the coming of the South American Series of handbooks the financial world began to realize the importance of the country, and, with more settled conditions, began in earnest to develop the remarkable natural resources which awaited outside enterprise. Undoubtedly the most informative books on the various Republics are those included in The South American Series, each of which is the work of a recognized authority on his subject.

“The output of books upon Latin America has in recent years been very large, a proof doubtless of the increasing interest that is felt in the subject. Of these the ‘South American Series’ is the most noteworthy.”

The Times.

“When the ‘South American Series’ is completed, those who take interest in Latin-American affairs will have an invaluable encyclopædia at their disposal.”

Westminster Gazette.

“Mr. Unwin’s ‘South American Series’ of books are of special interest and value to the capitalist and trader.”

Chamber of Commerce Journal.

Full particulars of the volumes in the “South American Series,” also of other interesting books on South America, will be found in the pages following.



1 Chile. By G. F. Scott Elliott, M.A., F.R.G.S. With an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map and 39 Illustrations. Cloth, 21/- net. Sixth Impression.

“An exhaustive, interesting account, not only of the turbulent history of this country, but of the present conditions and seeming prospects.”

Westminster Gazette.

2 Peru. By C. Reginald Enock, F.R.G.S. With an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map and 64 Illustrations. Cloth, 18/- net. Fifth Impression.

“An important work.... The writer possesses a quick eye and a keen intelligence; is many-sided in his interests, and on certain subjects speaks as an expert. The volume deals fully with the development of the country.”

The Times.

3 Mexico. By C. Reginald Enock, F.R.G.S. With an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map and 64 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/- net. Fifth Impression.

“The book is most comprehensive; the history, politics, topography, industries, resources and possibilities being most ably discussed.”

The Financial News.

4 Argentina. By W. A. Hirst. With an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map and 64 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/-net. Fifth Impression.

“The best and most comprehensive of recent works on the greatest and most progressive of the Republics of South America.”

Manchester Guardian.

5 Brazil. By Pierre Denis. Translated, and with an Historical Chapter by Bernard Miall. With a Supplementary Chapter by Dawson A. Vindin, a Map and 36 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/- net. Fourth Impression.

“Altogether the book is full of information, which shows the author to have made a most careful study of the country.”

Westminster Gazette.


6 Uruguay. By W. H. Koebel. With a Map and 55 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/-net. Third Impression.

“Mr. Koebel has given us an expert’s diagnosis of the present condition of Uruguay. Glossing over nothing, exaggerating nothing, he has prepared a document of the deepest interest.”

Evening Standard.

7 Guiana. British, French and Dutch. By James Rodway. With a Map and 32 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/- net. Second Impression.

“Mr. Rodway’s work is a storehouse of information, historical, economical and sociological.”

The Times.

8 Venezuela. By Leonard V. Dalton, F.G.S., F.R.G.S. With a Map and 45 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/- net. Third Impression.

“An exhaustive and valuable survey of its geography, geology, history, botany, zoology and anthropology, and of its commercial possibilities in the near future.”

Manchester Guardian.

9 Latin America: Its Rise and Progress. By F. Garcia-Calderon. With a Preface by Raymond Poincaré, President of the French Republic. With a Map and 34 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/-net. Sixth Impression.

President Poincaré, in a striking preface to this book, says: “Here is a book that should be read and digested by every one interested in the future of the Latin genius.”

10 Colombia. By Phanor James Eder, A.B., LL.B. With 2 Maps and 40 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/- net. Fifth Impression.

“Mr. Eder’s valuable work should do much to encourage investment, travel and trade in one of the least-known and most promising of the countries of the New World.”

Manchester Guardian.


11 Ecuador. By C. Reginald Enock, F.R.G.S. With 2 Maps and 37 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/- net. Second Impression.

“Mr. Enock’s very thorough and exhaustive volume should help British investors to take their part in promoting its development. He has studied and described the country in all its aspects.”

Manchester Guardian.

12 Bolivia. By Paul Walle. With 4 Maps and 59 Illustrations. Cloth, 18/- net. Second Impression.

Bolivia is a veritable El Dorado, requiring only capital and enterprise to become one of the wealthiest States of America. This volume is the result of a careful investigation made on behalf of the French Ministry of Commerce.

13 Paraguay. By W. H. Koebel. With a Map and 32 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/- net. Second Impression.

“Gives a great deal of serious and useful information about the possibilities of the country for the emigrant, the investor and the tourist, concurrently with a vivid and literary account of its history.”


14 Central America: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama and Salvador. By W. H. Koebel. With a Map and 25 Illustrations. Cloth, 15/- net. Second Impression.

“We strongly recommend this volume, not only to merchants looking ahead for new openings for trade, but also to all who wish for an accurate and interesting account of an almost unknown world.”

Saturday Review.



Spanish America: Its Romance, Reality and Future. By C. R. Enock, Author of “The Andes and the Amazon,” “Peru,” “Mexico,” “Ecuador.” Illustrated and with a Map. 2 vols. Cloth, 30/- net the set.

Starting with the various States of Central America, Mr. Enock then describes ancient and modern Mexico, then takes the reader successively along the Pacific Coast, the Cordillera of the Andes, enters the land of the Spanish Main, conducts the reader along the Amazon Valley, gives a special chapter to Brazil and another to the River Plate and Pampas. Thus all the States of Central and South America are covered. The work is topographical, descriptive and historical; it describes the people and the cities, the flora and fauna, the varied resources of South America, its trade, railways, its characteristics generally.

South America: An Industrial and Commercial Field. By W. H. Koebel. Illustrated. Cloth, 18/- net. Second Impression.

“The book considers such questions as South American commerce, British interests in the various Republics, international relations and trade, communications, the tendency of enterprise, industries, etc. Two chapters devoted to the needs of the continent will be of especial interest to manufacturers and merchants, giving as they do valuable hints as to the various goods required, while the chapter on merchandise and commercial travellers affords some sound and practical advice.”

Chamber of Commerce Journal.


Vagabonding down the Andes. By Harry A. Franck, author of “A Vagabond Journey Round the World,” etc. With a Map and 176 Illustrations. Cloth, 25/- net. Second Impression.

“The book is a brilliant record of adventurous travel among strange scenes and with even more strange companions, and vividly illustrates, by its graphic text and its admirable photographs, the real conditions of life in the backwood regions of South America.”

Manchester Guardian.

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A complete history of the Belgian nation from its origins to its present situation has not yet been published in this country. Up till now Belgian history has only been treated as a side issue in works concerned with the Belgian art, Belgian literature or social conditions. Besides, there has been some doubt with regard to the date at which such a history ought to begin, and a good many writers have limited themselves to the modern history of Belgium because they did not see in olden times sufficient evidence of Belgian unity. According to the modern school of Belgian historians, however, this unity, founded on common traditions and common interests, has asserted itself again and again through the various periods of history in spite of invasion, foreign domination and the various trials experienced by the country. The history of the Belgian nation appears to the modern mind as a slow development of one nationality constituted by two races speaking two different languages but bound together by geographical, economic and cultural conditions. In view of the recent proof Belgium has given of her patriotism during the world-war, this impartial enquiry into her origins may prove interesting to British readers. Every opportunity has been taken to insist on the frequent relationships between the Belgian provinces and Great Britain from the early middle ages to the present time, and to show the way in which both countries were affected by them. Written by one of the most distinguished Belgian writers, who has made a specialty of his subject, this work will be one of the most brilliant and informing contributions in “The Story of the Nations.[251]


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49 Austria. By Sidney Whitman. With the Collaboration of J. R. McIlraith. Third Edition. With 35 Illustrations and a Map.

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[1] It is but fair to add, however, that among tribes with whom the matrilocal custom exists, the position of the woman is apt to be better than among those that are patrilocal. This particularly as far as the treatment of the wife is concerned. The husband is regarded always more or less as a visitor—an “auslander”—among his wife’s people; one over whom the influence of his father-in-law and brothers-in-law has a chastening effect. In matrilocal tribes the real power lies usually in the hands of the father and the elder brother of the wife, who have absolute authority over her and over her children.

[2] Formosa is only 225 miles (approximately) north of Cape Engano, the northernmost point of the Philippine Islands, of which Manila is the capital.

[3] Some Chinese scholars maintain that Terrace Bay (i.e. a bay surrounded by terraces) is a more accurate translation than Terrace Beach.

[4] There is some difference of opinion as to the origin of the name. Shinji Ishii, the Japanese writer, suggests that the Chinese name, Taiwan, is a corruption of Paiwan, the name of one of the aboriginal tribes of the island. In this connection it must be remembered that the Japanese, generally speaking, are prone to deny to the Chinese capacity for poetic conception, or appreciation of beauty. I, however, who have lived among the Chinese, and know their genuine appreciation of the beautiful in nature, and their habit of fixing the poetic concept of a moment by crystallizing it in a word or phrase, think “Terrace Beach” or “Terrace Bay” the more probable meaning of Taiwan.

[5] I had gone to Japan under the glamour of the writings of Lafcadio Hearn.

[6] Vagabond—or wanderer—as nearly as that expressive Russian word “бродяга” can be translated into English.

[7] To be exact, I was, when in Kyoto, devoting my attention chiefly to the study of Shin-shu (not to be confounded with Shinto)—one of the many sects into which Mahayana Buddhism is now divided, the sect associated with the two great Hongwanji temples of Kyoto—and comparing these teachings with those of Zen-shu, another sect of Mahayana Buddhism, which I had previously studied in a Zen monastery in Kamakura.

[8] As a teacher in this school I ranked as a “two-button” official (sōninkan) of the Japanese Government, and thus technically entitled to wear two buttons on the sleeve of my coat, and to carry a short sword with a white handle. The Director of the school, the Head Master and the heads of one or two departments and the other “foreign” teachers were also “two-button” officials. The majority of the teachers were “one-button” officials (hanninkan), entitled to wear only one button on the sleeve of their coats and to carry a black-handled sword. The “two-button” officials were “invited”—i.e. practically commanded—to attend official government banquets and similar functions, and to meet visiting princes and other notables from the “mother-country.” The “one-button” officials escaped these honours.

[9] The picturesque and interesting—because still untouristized—city in the extreme south of Japan, situated under the shadow of Sakurajima, the still active volcano, which early in 1914—the year that I was in Kagoshima—destroyed a portion of the city, and killed several hundred of its inhabitants.

[10] A school for the daughters of Japanese officials has also been established in Taihoku; but it is an interesting commentary upon the position of women in Japan, even at the present time, that while several “foreign” (English and American) teachers are engaged for the boys’ school, no “foreign” teacher is employed for the girls’ school. That would be “too expensive for a girls’ school,” the Japanese say. Also, while the curriculum of the two schools is—with the exception of English—practically the same, yet the boys’ school is called a Middle School (Chu Gakkō), because the boys are expected to go later to a Higher School, for the completion of their education; while the girls’ school is called a Higher School (Kōtō Gakkō) because the education of girls is supposed to be completed with the completion of the course in this school.

[11] Why the Japanese should restrict the term “foreigner” (seiyō-jin, or ijin-san, or ketto-jin, the last meaning literally “hairy barbarian”) to men and women of the white race, I do not know. A member of any other Asiatic race—liked or loathed—is not called a “foreigner.”

[12] Mt. Morrison—called by the Japanese Niitaka-Yama—is the highest mountain in the Japanese Empire, exceeding by nearly a thousand feet the world-famous Mt. Fuji, in Japan proper.

[13] That is, “as the crow flies.” In actually traversing the island, however, from northern to southern extremity, it is necessary, by the shortest route, to travel at least 350 miles.

[14] It is said that at this time the Formosans valued iron so highly that when throwing a spear tipped with this metal, they always pulled it back, by means of a raw-hide line, about 100 feet long, one end of which was held in the hand, the other attached to the spear-haft.

[15] Probably the harbour of Anping.

[16] The recent change of view-point on the part of the Japanese regarding Koksinga throws an interesting side-light on the psychology of that race. Previous to 1895 the name of Koksinga was in Japan held up to universal execration. He had been a “villainous Chinese pirate; one who had behaved in Taiwan with the usual cruelty of his race” (i.e. the Chinese). Since 1895 when the Japanese came into control of Formosa, and, in turn, dispossessed the Chinese, it has been discovered “in old Japanese records” that Koksinga had a Japanese mother. Therefore he was Japanese—and a hero. Temples have recently been erected in honour of this “Japanese hero” by the Japanese, in several places in Formosa. To one who knows how strictly patrilineal the Japanese are—how little relationship through the line of the mother is usually considered—“c’est à rire”!

[17] The name Formosa, as applied to the island, seems to have first become generally known in Europe through the book, Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa, by the so-called impostor, Psalmanazar, published in London in 1704. How much credence can be given to the statements of Psalmanazar remains still an open question.

[18] The Japanese, of even the more educated classes—teachers and others—will say in all seriousness that their ancestors “came from heaven.” The ancestors of all other races they consider to have been earth-born. On this assumption they base their conception of the superiority of the Japanese race to all other races. There is a mountain in the southern part of Japan, near Kagoshima, to which the Japanese point as the actual spot on which their first ancestors alighted when they descended from heaven.

[19] Aus Brockhaus, Konversationslexikon: “Dido oder Elissa, die sagenhafte Gründerin von Karthago, war eine Tochter des tyrischen Königs Mutto und die Gemahlin von dessen Bruder Sicharbas (bei Virgil Sichäus) einem Priester des Melkart. Ihr Bruder tötete ihren Gemahl, worauf Dido mit dessen Schätzen, begleitet von vielen Tyriern, entfloh, um einen neuen Wohnsitz zu suchen. Sie landete in Afrika, unweit der schon bestehenden phönizischen Pflanzstadt Ityke (Utika) und baute auf dem den Eingeborenen abgekauften Boden eine Burg Byrsa (das Fell). Die Bedeutung dieses Wortes wurde durch die Sage so erklärt: Dido habe so viel Land gekauft, wie mit einer Rindshaut belegt werden könne, dann aber listig die Haut in dünne Streifen geschnitten und damit einen weiten Raum umgrenzt. An die Burg schloss sich hierauf die Stadt Karthago an. Hier ward Dido nach ihrem Tode, den sie sich selbst auf dem Scheiterhaufen gab, um dem Begehren des Nachbarkönigs Hiarbas (Jarbas) nach ihrer Hand zu entgehen, göttlich verehrt, wie denn ihre mythische Gestalt offenbar derjenigen der grossen weiblichen Gottheit der Semiten entspricht, welche auch den Namen Dido führte. Virgil lässt, wie es schon Nävius getan, den Äneas zur Dido kommen und giebt dessen Untreue als die Ursache ihres Todes an.”

Aus Weber, Weltgeschichte: “Die Sage von der Ochsenhaut bei Gründung der Stadt (Karthago) ist bezeichnend für den Charakter der Phönizier, deren List und Verschlagenheit schon im Altertum berühmt war.”

Nach Gustav Schwab, Die Schönsten Sagen des klassischen Altertums, “War es eine Stierhaut (was dem Namen Byrsa entspricht).”

[20] The Moors captured the southern island of the Philippine Island group—Mindanao—and converted the natives to Mohammedanism. Their hybrid descendants now living on Mindanao are still called “Moros.”

[21] During the days of the Chinese over-lordship of the island there were several British consulates in Formosa; one in Takao, the southern port of the island, and one in Anping, the harbour on the west coast, as well as the one in Keelung. Since Formosa has been a part of the Japanese Empire, however, British trade with the island has steadily declined. No encouragement—in fact, every discouragement—is given it by the present masters of the island; hence there are no longer consulates at either Takao or Anping, and the great houses formerly occupied by the consuls, which were centres of both social and business activity in the British colonies at Takao and Anping, respectively, are now falling into decay, occupied only by bats, snakes, and homeless Chinese-Formosan beggars.

[22] The records speak only of male chieftains being invited to these feasts. It is possible that those tribal groups which have now—and probably had then—women chiefs sent male proxies to the feasts of the Dutch governors, as the latter would treat only with men.

[23] See footnote, p. 33.

[24] Curiously enough, this pack of starving dogs constituted my first impression of life in Formosa, teeming though the island is with richness of vegetable and animal life, and with all that makes for easy and comfortable living for both man and beast. At first the starvation and evident misery of these dogs puzzled me. I did not then fully understand—as later I was forced to do—the callousness and indifference of the great majority of both Chinese and Japanese to the sufferings of animals.

[25] All the Japanese in Formosa in Civil Service, including the teachers, wear military uniform and carry swords.

[26] All “writing” in Chinese characters is really painting, being done with a soft brush dipped in Indian ink.

[27] During my residence in Formosa, my Chinese-Formosan house-boy came to me, begging that Asa—the “sun,” or “shining lord”—in this case “female lord” (lady does not quite express the significance) of the household—would lend him 70 yen, with which to buy a “lily-footed” bride. His father had said it was time for him to marry, and with 40 yen—the amount of his savings—he could buy only a “big-footed” wife, something which would make him the laughing-stock of all his acquaintance.

[28] In Japan the police are drawn from the educated upper-class—the old Samurai.

[29] The Japanese when at home always sit, or rather kneel, on Zabuton (kneeling-cushions, or mats) on the floor.

[30] Rickshas—small man-drawn carriages—(see illustration) could be pulled only about the city and its immediate environs, and it was not city or suburban life in which I was interested.

[31] See illustrations.

[32] It is due to the efforts of Mr. Hosui and Mr. Marui that the skull of a recently decapitated member of the Taiyal tribe has been presented to the Museum of Oxford University.

[33] See map.

[34] Quite naturally, Christmas means nothing to the Japanese. Most of those who have not been missionized do not even know on what day this seiyō-jin matsuri (foreign festival) falls; those who live in country districts have not even heard of it. Their celebration of the winter solstice is at the New Year, which is the great festival time of the year. At this season interesting ceremonies are observed, and quaint and picturesque games played by old and young alike.

[35] See map.

[36] See map.

[37] See map.

[38] See map.

[39] See map.

[40] See Part II of this book.

[41] Winter is the rainy season in northern Formosa; summer the rainy season in the southern part of the island.

[42] One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Hakkas is that the women never “bind” their feet; whereas the feet of all the other Chinese-Formosan women are “bound,” i.e. crippled and distorted. This “sin of omission” on the part of the Hakkas seems to have something to do with the contempt in which they are held by the other Chinese, both in Formosa and on the mainland.

[43] The Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th edition, gives the aboriginal population of Formosa as 104,334. This is probably a fairly correct estimate, although the Japanese claim that 120,000 is more nearly correct, they wishing to give the impression that the aboriginal population is increasing, rather than diminishing.

[44] During my residence in Formosa I personally saw instances of the most hideous cruelty on the part of the Japanese toward the Chinese-Formosans, and of barbaric torture, officially inflicted, as punishment for the most trivial offences (as later—in the spring of 1919—I saw the same thing in the other Japanese colony, Korea, on the part of the Japanese toward the gentle Koreans). But this is an aspect of Japanese colonization with which in this book I shall not deal.

[45] The camphor “factories” established in the mountains—such as the one illustrated—for the extraction of crude camphor from the camphor wood are naturally of a primitive kind. The crude camphor is brought down to Taihoku to be refined.

[46] This actually happened during my residence in Formosa, the Japanese boasting of the cleverness of the expedient, and ridiculing the aborigines for believing—as they did—that the aeroplane was a huge bird, and the bomb its poisonous excrement.

[47] In connection with the care, especially the medical treatment, which Father Candidius gave to the native people, naturally many stories of miracles have grown up.

[48] See Part I, p. 29.

[49] The Taiyal tribe is the same as that which Swinhoe, who spent a few days among them in 1857, calls the Tylolok (see Hastings’ Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, vol. vi. p. 85).

[50] Stakes driven into the ground, extending upward to a height of six feet, or more (see illustration of Yami house).

[51] See Part I, p. 70.

[52] The colour of the skin, the shape of the features, and the occasionally curly hair of certain members of the Yami suggest that the people of this tiny island—Botel Tobago—have in them an admixture of Papuan blood, which modifies the predominant Malay strain. This admixture is also suggested by certain features of their arts and crafts.

[53] During the days of the Chinese government of Formosa when there was a British consulate at Takao.

[54] See illustrations from snapshots taken by the author, showing how these very small women keep their heads covered—bound with cloths—as much as possible, in order to conceal their hair.

[55] That is, of the same tribal group, which constitutes a social unit.

[56] This, of course, does not apply to a forced oath, extorted through terror.

[57] This constitutes part of the puberty initiation ceremonies.

[58] See illustration of Paiwan skull-shelf, at the side of doorway of chief.

[59] See Formosa under the Dutch, by Campbell.

[60] See illustration of bachelor-house facing page 97.

[61] See Primitive Society, by Robert H. Lowie, Ph.D., Assistant Curator in Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History.

[62] Some groups of the Taiyal use pounded ginger-root, instead of salt, for flavouring their food.

[63] This duration varies among the different tribes, as will be explained in the chapter dealing with Marriage Customs.

[64] A tribal group, or unit, usually consists of several villages near together, under the same rulership, and having the same organization and regulations.

[65] See map.

[66] Sometimes called the Story of Kaguya-Hime.

[67] See illustration.

[68] See illustration, p. 116.

[69] See p. 115.

[70] See p. 118.

[71] See map.

[72] The word “nation” is here used in the sense that it is commonly used in connection with the tribal groupings of the American Indians.

[73] See Totemism and Exogamy (vol. i), by Sir James Frazer.

[74] Even under “conditions of civilization,” however, eugenists hold that more male infants than female are born, but fewer reach maturity. Among primitive peoples the disproportion seems greater; that is, except among those tribes where the women are deliberately fattened—supposedly to enhance their beauty—as is the case with certain of the African tribes; or except among those where polygamy exists, which Frazer suggests may tend to increase the proportion of females (see Totemism and Exogamy, vol. i.).

[75] This attitude of reverencing the priestesses as rain-destroyers is in curious contrast with that of certain African tribes (e.g. the Dinkas and Shilluks, according to Dr. Seligman), with whom the king—who is also chief priest—is called “rain-maker”; this difference of point of view of course being due to difference of climatic conditions.

[76] The resemblance of certain members of the Yami tribe to the Papuans—such as those of the Solomon Islands—has already been noted (p. 103).

[77] See frontispiece.

[78] Melia japonica.

[79] Or “the low-born,” her words might also be translated.

[80] Hesiod, Works and Days, verse 825 (as translated by Miss E. J. Harrison).

[81] The different methods of house-building will be dealt with under Arts and Crafts.

[82] Among a few groups living in the eastern section of the territory inhabited by the Taiyal, there is a special “bride-house,” i.e. a hut erected on piles, some twenty feet above ground. In this “bride-house” every newly married couple of the tribal group must spend the first five days and nights after marriage. The house is exorcised by the priestesses before the entrance of the bridal pair.

[83] The newly married couple among the Paiwan—the tribe adjoining the Piyuma—live for a short time only with the parents of the bride, before building a home of their own. According to tradition, this tribe was once altogether matrilocal, as the Piyuma still are. Among certain groups of the Ami also, the newly married couple live for a time with the parents of the bride.

[84] I have never heard that a woman was supposed to be responsible for illness. Just what would happen in such a case—if a living woman were suspected—I do not know.

[85] The bridge referred to on p. 147.

[86] See illustration.

[87] See illustration.

[88] See p. 124.

[89] Rats and mice are a greater curse on Botel Tobago than on the main island of Formosa, as on the former there are not—or certainly were not, up to a very short time ago—either dogs or cats. An opportunity for a twentieth-century Dick Whittington suggests itself, although the reward of the modern Dick Whittington would probably consist of flowers and sweet potatoes—possibly of boiled millet, wrapped in banana-leaves.

[90] See Part I, p. 41.

[91] See p. 125.

[92] See illustration of author in the dress of a woman of the Taiyal tribe.

[93] Cloth thus ornamented with crimson yarn is reserved for the making of coats and blankets for successful warriors and hunters.

[94] See illustration of Ami woman making pottery.

[95] See illustration.

[96] The ear-plugs worn by men of the Paiwan tribe are perhaps even larger than those worn by the men of other tribes. For this reason the Chinese-Formosans call the Paiwan Tao-he-lan (“Big Ears”).

[97] Needles obtained by barter from the Japanese are now sometimes substituted for thorns.

[98] See Part I, p. 52.

[99] “In the early Cyprian tombs clay models of chariots have been found; these are modelled with solid wheels; sometimes spokes are painted on the clay; other models are almost certainly intended to represent vehicles with block wheels....

“Prof. Tylor figures an ox-waggon carved on the Antonine column. It appears to have solid wheels, and the square end of the axle proves that it and its drum wheels turned round together.... Tylor also says that ancient Roman farm-carts were made with wheels built up of several pieces of wood nailed together.” (Haddon, Study of Man.)

[100] Called by the missionaries “Lake Candidius,” after Father Candidius, the Dutch missionary explorer, of the seventeenth century, who discovered it.

[101] It is possible, however, that if Mr. Russell had been in Korea in March 1919, and had seen the hideous cruelty practised at that time—cruelty which took the form of peculiarly ingenious and diabolical modes of torture on the part of Japanese officialdom towards unarmed Koreans, women and children as well as men—he might have modified his statement to the extent of saying that present-day Japan is copying Christian morals of the age of the Inquisition. That Japan is not a “Christian country” has no bearing on the question, since Buddhism, quite as much as Christianity, enjoins forbearance and gentleness, and stresses—as its key-note—“harmlessness.” But the teachings of Gautama, like those of Christ, have little effect upon “the direction taken by the criminal tendencies,” as Mr. Russell puts it, of the nominal followers of these teachings—in Orient or Occident.

[102] In this connection I speak of the aborigines of this particular island—Formosa. Among many of the Melanesian aborigines of other islands of the South Pacific—as among many tribes of equatorial Africa, and certain tribes of American Indians—every form of torture is applied to the vanquished enemy before death releases him from suffering.

[103] See Das Mutterrecht, by J. J. Bachofen.

[104] On this subject see Les Formes Élémentaires de la Vie Religieuse, by E. Durkheim.

[105] See Sex and Character, by Otto Weininger.

[106] The Dora of Dickens’s David Copperfield.

[107] See The Female of the Species, by Kipling.

[108] A Japanese silver coin, equivalent to about a sixpence in value.

[109] A Japanese coin, equivalent to about a shilling in value.

Transcriber’s Notes

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been retained. Original capitalization and spelling has been retained except in the cases of the following apparent typographical errors:


Page 95, “Filippinos” changed to “Filipinos.” (resemblance between Filipinos and)

Page 140, “prietesses” changed to “priestesses.” (elderly women are priestesses)

Page 253, under Russia heading, “Mapz” changed to “Maps.” (With 60 Illustrations and Maps.)

Page 46, “outcaste” changed to “outcast.” (the outcast class of China)