Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Jim, the Atayal were forming one officially recognized tribe till few years ago, then the Truku and the Sedeq were recognized as distinct groups from the rest of the Atayal. The Atayalic groups are only present in the northern part of the island. The island is occupied by 10 other austronesian tribes such as the Paiwan, the Bunun, the Puyuma, the Rukai...). These are mountains and plains austronesian groups. In addition, a little island south of Taiwan (Botel Tobago/Orchid Island/Lanyu) is inhabited by another tribe, the Yami/Tawu who is distinct because of its oceanic culture. In fact, the rammie is widely used as a textile fiber among the aborigines tribes of Taiwan and is also used to make scabbard straps, but not only. Scabbard straps can also be made of rattan or bamboo (see some photos in the Yang Grevot Collections). Concerning the design and the colors, you are right but the red color is also used to protect against the bad spirit and the diamond patterns is also representing the ancestor snake skin pattern.
Kukulza, nice traditional textile ! Really matching the knife.
Maisey, yes, in Taiwan also, textiles making is exclusively the work of women, and their skills in this matter are highly appreciated, while the knives and their use such as head hunting is only the privilege of the men who are decorating the scabbards and the hilts. The hierarchy and the order in the Taiwan tribal society was largely based on this sharing of the traditional roles.
I don't have pictures of my weapons with a matching textiles, but I have something here that is very close in the idea : a special bag that the Atayal warriors used to place the severed heads on their way back from a head hunting party. See the link http://www.formosatribal.com/show.php?item_id=261