Atayal’s facial tatoo

Long ago, Atayals has the tradition of facial tattoo. The girls would not be able to get married if without the facial tattoo, the boys would not be able to find a wife if without the facial tattoo. Facial tattoo is an importance mark of adulthood of the Atayals. However, it was not easy to qualify for facial tattoo, girls must learn to weave, boys must learn to hunt, earn the facial tattoo when the human head is hunted. Today, the Atayals who have the facial tattoos all are the elderly people, also it is decreasing year after year, the living elderly people who have the tattoos are the people in the class of national treasure. There are still few elderly people in Jianshih Township and Tai-an Township today. How many do you know?

How did the tradition of facial tattoo come about? Legend has it that long ago, there was a giant rock on the now Mount Papa Waqa, every day Silik (the divination bird of Atayal) cried in front of the giant rock, all the sudden the giant rock was pushed open by Silik, the giant rock cracked, from the inside came out of one boy and one girl, these were the two earliest human beings on earth, which were the ancestors of the Atayalites. As the time went by, the siblings have grown into adults, but there was no sign of other human beings. The sister worried that there would be no humans being born. Thus decided to marry the brother but feared that the brother would not want to marry her after recognizing who she was. She got an idea to rub the coal on her face so that the brother would not be able to recognize her then. One day, the sister told the brother that there would be a girl waiting in the cave for him to marry her after dark, when the brother went hunting, the sister started burning the woods to make coal, and rubbed it on the forehead and cheeks after grinding it up so that the brother would not be able to recognize her. After dark, the brother came to the cave, saw his bride. The brother did not know that the girl with the coal on the face was his sister, the two were married and had many children. From then on the human multiplied on the earth.