November 4, 2015
The traditional hand tattoo culture of Taiwan’s indigenous Paiwan tribe is taking center stage at an exhibition running until Dec. 6 at National Taiwan Museum in Taipei City.
“Engraving Prestige: Hand Tattoo of Paiwan, Laiyi” features eight video interviews and photographs of 21 octogenarians from southern Taiwan’s Pingtung County, as well as a display of historic wooden sculptures.
Chen Wen-shan, who took the shots and is also a staffer at Pingtung-based Laiyi Indigenous Museum, spent three years documenting the stories of tattooed Paiwan elders. “The Japanese cracked down on the practice during the colonial period [1895-1945], ensuring it would one day fade from sight.
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