Living with the Tao on Lanyu

Already participating in the "house launching ritual" hosted by our friend Siaman Vongayan (Han name: Chien-Ping Kuo) may well be seen as a privilege, considering the Tao, one of Taiwan's 16 ethnic minorities, are more likely to be cautious to outsiders. This encounter with the rites, customs, conventions and songs provided a deep and concentrated insight into the cultural history of this tribe on the Orchid Island.


This experience, on the one hand, and the placement with Chien-Ping's sister for the three research weeks, on the other hand, gave me the feeling of being part of a permanent field research and gaining an insight into the everyday life of this indigenous population, otherwise denied to temporary visitors.


Discussions with the hosts and interviews with numerous other villagers about everyday matters as well as social and political problems supplemented the already gained insights. The interaction with the children and young people from the different villages on the island was particularly impressive for me. While they were rather restrained and shy at the beginning of their participation, they were still increasingly inspired day by day for their musical, playful and dance-like exercises and assignments. Unfortunately for everyone involved, due to an approaching typhoon, all activities had to be stopped abruptly.


I am firmly convinced that if this artistic-scientific research project is being continued, the work can resume where it once had to be interrupted.