Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 13th June 2011, 10:32 AM   #1
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default Taiwan aborigines: a ceremonial Rukai knife

I promised earlier to post more pictures of the knife I bought through the Imperial Auctions sales on March the 19th. Here they are. I couldn’t do it earlier because it took some times for the knife to arrive and then even more time (more than one month) for it to go through the custom clearance.
This is a very nice Rukai tribal knife from Taiwan (total length 74 cm; handle 15.5 x 4cm; blade 54x4cm; sheath 58 x 5,8cm). Beginning of 20th century, may be before.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwanese_aborigines
Belonging to a tribal leader or an outstanding warrior, this kind of knife is not for daily working or common hunting. It is a ceremonial knife as we can see by the patterns on it and also by its uncommon size (it’s the second longest one I ever seen among Rukai/Paiwan knives). This one was used for rituals and mostly head hunting rituals.
Its handle is inlayed with silver and bronze pins plus mother of pearl buttons. On the top part, there is a stylized human head (the vertical parallel longer bronze pins on the upper part of the handle are symbolizing the hairs). Further down, sun patterns are seen on top of 4 joined faces patterns, themselves on top of two snakes joined by the head. The joined human heads together with the two joined snake heads symbolizes the start of a head hunting party.
On the wooden sheath-- colored in red because it brings protection, there is another double snakes pattern, 4 more human heads. That is a repetition of the just described pattern. Further down, two more snakes are facing opposite directions (I don’t know the meaning of this symbol). On the lower part of the sheath, we see flower patterns carved in the wood with ‘zigzag’ snake skin patterns, and more flower patterns carved on a bronze leaf.
On the other/open side of the sheath, two bronze bracelets with Chinese motives are followed by a long leaf of bronze carved with snakes and human heads. Two iron staples are closing the open side, making up for the body of a snake whose head is figured on the tip of the scabbard.
Attached Images
           
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th June 2011, 10:35 AM   #2
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default

Last pictures
Attached Images
          
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th June 2011, 11:30 AM   #3
Nonoy Tan
Member
 
Nonoy Tan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 266
Default

What is it called in the vernacular?
Nonoy Tan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th June 2011, 12:13 PM   #4
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 3,699
Default

Thank you for posting this beautiful knife and the detailed explanation!

Regards,

Detlef
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th June 2011, 12:24 PM   #5
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default

If my sources are correct, it should be called 'rinadrug'
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2011, 01:21 AM   #6
Rick
Member
 
Rick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 4,853
Question

The blade is of laminated construction, Nicolas ?

Absolutely lovely and rare .
Rick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2011, 05:35 AM   #7
KuKulzA28
Member
 
KuKulzA28's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: between work and sleep
Posts: 674
Default

Lovely... I've heard that the Paiwan sword is called a takit - is that true?
KuKulzA28 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2011, 09:15 AM   #8
Atlantia
Member
 
Atlantia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: The Sharp end
Posts: 2,928
Default

Hi Yuanzhumin

What a magnificent item! Thanks for sharing.
Congratulations
Gene
Atlantia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2011, 09:15 AM   #9
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default

Rick,
Yes, it seems to be. It is much more sophisticated than the usual Paiwanic blades. This one must be the result of a barter with a Chinese Han settler or a Japanese traveller. May be, it was also 'taken' away from someone outside of the tribe, at the same time with his head. We'll never know.
Kukulza,
The Paiwanic group is composed of three distinct groups: the Paiwan, the Puyuma and the Rukai. These 3 groups, despite some cultural similarities, are quite different. Languages are different, and even among the Rukai, it happens that in the same valley, 3 Rukai villages have 3 different dialects.
For what concerns the name, I checked my source, and as you wrote, 'tjakit' means a sword in the Paiwan language. The 'sisavavuavua tjakit' is the name for the common sword when the ceremonial sword is called 'sitjeqalaqala tjakit'.
In Rukai language, the Rukai sword should be called 'rinadrug'
Sorry I won't be able to tell you more
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2011, 11:20 AM   #10
Nonoy Tan
Member
 
Nonoy Tan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 266
Default

Thanks, Yuanzhumin. Any information regarding the etymological basis of rinadrug?
Nonoy Tan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th June 2011, 03:10 AM   #11
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default

Thank you all for your nice comments.

Nonoy, all what I can bring is this link:

http://www2.hawaii.edu/~reid/Combin...i%20Grammar.pdf

Here is the introduction to the book:

Elizabeth Zeitoun. 2007. A grammar of Mantauran (Rukai). Taipei:
Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica. Language and
Linguistics Monograph Series A4-2. xviii + 551 pp. ISBN 978-
986-01-1219-1. $50.00, hardcover.

Mantauran is one of the six dialects of the Formosan language Rukai, spoken in the southcentral region of Taiwan. It is spoken by only 250–300 people and is highly endangered, with only a few elderly speakers still fluent. This alone is reason enough to document the language that in a generation or so will probably no longer be spoken. But Rukai is unique in that it apparently exhibits an accusative case-marking system, while most other
Formosan languages are arguably ergative, and it does not exhibit the widespread “focus” system characteristic of the so-called “Philippine-type” languages of Taiwan, such as Amis, Kavalan, Bunun, Thao, and Atayal. While a substantial grammar exists of one of the other dialects, Tanan Rukai (Li 1973), until Elizabeth Zeitoun (henceforth EZ) began her research on the language, there was very little information available about the morphosyntax
of this dialect. With this grammar, we now have extensive coverage of two
considerably different dialects of Rukai. EZ’s goals in writing the grammar in effect.

My additional comment: Elizabeth Zeitoun is a world wide expert of Rukai languages. She is a French researcher and works at the Acadamia Sinica, in Taipei (if I remember well, she is a member of this prestigious institution).

About the 14 Formosan languages:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formosan_languages

About the Austronesian languages:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/media/65326/
http://www.digparty.com/wiki/Austronesian_languages
http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.p...esian_languages

If any of you has some more infos, please, share with us.

Not many people know about the Taiwan aborigenes, and even less about their different ethnic groups, their culture and their languages despite the fact that they are the craddle of the whole Austronesian world. Close to 300 millions people speak Austronesian languages all around the Pacific Rim and in The Indian Ocean. Polynesian people (Hawaii, Tahiti, Easter Island, Maori in New Zealand...) can trace their ancestry to Taiwan 6000 years ago, through genetics.
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th June 2011, 03:14 AM   #12
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default

One more word just to show how much the Taiwan aborigenes culture is not well known: even the specialists from the Imperial Auctions, from which I bought this sword 2 months ago, mislabeled it and presented it as a Mainland Chinese minority knife.
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th June 2011, 03:18 AM   #13
Atlantia
Member
 
Atlantia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: The Sharp end
Posts: 2,928
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by yuanzhumin
One more word just to show how much the Taiwan aborigenes culture is not well known: even the specialists from the Imperial Auctions, from which I bought this sword 2 months ago, mislabeled it and presented it as a Mainland Chinese minority knife.



Well they got part right, amongst 'knives' beauties like that certainly are but a tiny minority!
Atlantia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th June 2011, 08:18 PM   #14
KuKulzA28
Member
 
KuKulzA28's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: between work and sleep
Posts: 674
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by yuanzhumin
Kukulza,
The Paiwanic group is composed of three distinct groups: the Paiwan, the Puyuma and the Rukai. These 3 groups, despite some cultural similarities, are quite different. Languages are different, and even among the Rukai, it happens that in the same valley, 3 Rukai villages have 3 different dialects.
For what concerns the name, I checked my source, and as you wrote, 'tjakit' means a sword in the Paiwan language. The 'sisavavuavua tjakit' is the name for the common sword when the ceremonial sword is called 'sitjeqalaqala tjakit'.
In Rukai language, the Rukai sword should be called 'rinadrug'
Sorry I won't be able to tell you more


Thanks yuanzhumin for the information! I appreciate it!
KuKulzA28 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2011, 03:47 PM   #15
varta
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 19
Default Yi People of Sechuan

As this sword was described as "a rare and distinctive sword of the Yi People of Sichuan, formerly known as the Luoluo", does anyone know if the Yi have swords and how they are looking like?
(Amazing how auctions houses sometimes assert unanswerable description when they ignore an object. Yuanzhumin is a specialist of these discoveries. Congratulations!)
varta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2011, 01:37 AM   #16
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default

Hi Varta,
Thanks for congratulating me!
May be you could share some of your Taiwanese blades. You may have quite many now!
I have a question about the Saisiat blade in my other post. Any infos on it?
It would be definitely nice to see another important Taiwan aborigines collection.
Best
Nicolas
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2011, 07:10 AM   #17
migueldiaz
Member
 
migueldiaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Manila, Phils.
Posts: 1,042
Default

yuanzhumin, congrats and thanks for posting the pics and info!

i've read that in some southeast asian cultures, the sun god is sometimes represented by the bird symbol (or alternatively, that of a figure of a man).

am not sure if i've asked you before. but would the figure/s of a man in taiwanese aboriginal art be a representation, too, of the sun god? and can we find the bird motif in taiwan, just like taiwan's neighboring countries?

finally, what would be a good book that describes the meanings in taiwanese aboriginal art in general?

thanks in advance, and let me reiterate my appreciation for all of your posts which are quite informative to say the least. best wishes.
migueldiaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2011, 09:13 AM   #18
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default

Dear Migueldiaz,

Many thanks for your kind words.

For what I know, the sun is usually symbolized by a circle among the Taiwanese aborigines, mostly the Southern tribes. It can be a circle, a double circle or a circle with sun rays patterns. Among the Rukai and the Paiwan, this is a symbol reserved for the noble linages, whether it is tattooed on the body or carved on a house beam or a knife handle. Definitely not for commoners. It has a particular significance for the Rukai.

The single representation of a man or a woman is usually an ancestor that is protecting a family or a village.

Here is a link to a Rukai altar panel with a repeated double circle sun pattern:
http://www.formosatribal.com/show.php?item_id=231

For the books, the best one in English is :
http://books.google.com/books/about...=q hYeAAAAMAAJ

Here after you have few other references:
http://www.formosatribal.com/english.html

Best

Nicolas
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2011, 10:27 AM   #19
Nonoy Tan
Member
 
Nonoy Tan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 266
Default

I would like to add another excellent reference, with hundreds of images, including the sun motif and weaponry.

Woodcarving of the Paiwan Group of Taiwan by Chen Chi-Lu (1961)

Texts are in Chinese.
Nonoy Tan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2011, 02:11 PM   #20
migueldiaz
Member
 
migueldiaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Manila, Phils.
Posts: 1,042
Default

Nicolas, many thanks!

If I may have a follow-up question, did the aboriginal Taiwanese believe in an Underworld where the snake or serpent was the chief deity, and in an Upperworld where the sun god was preeminent? Thanks again.

Nonoy, thanks too!
migueldiaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2011, 04:28 PM   #21
varta
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 19
Default Saisiat knives

Sorry Nicolas, I don't know very much about Saisiat knives. They are possibly similar to Atayal knives. I don't remember having seen any in the published collections.
You are very generous; my collection is much smaller than yours. And blades are not at all my speciality. Meanwhile, to be polite, I will show you my two Rukai knives.
Attached Images
   
varta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2011, 10:12 PM   #22
napoleon
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 64
Default great knife

never seen anything like it thanks for posting it
napoleon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2011, 12:56 AM   #23
KuKulzA28
Member
 
KuKulzA28's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: between work and sleep
Posts: 674
Default

varta, that's a beautiful blade. Glad to see more of Taiwan's traditional martial culture showing up on international forums.
KuKulzA28 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2011, 01:43 AM   #24
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default

Hello Migueldiaz,

I wouldn’t say Taiwanese aborigines have gods. It’s more a world of spirits interacting with the livings, with spirits being able to make good or bad deeds. The snake is more seen like the original ancestor among the 3 Paiwan groups (Paiwan proper, Rukai and Puyuma).

Hi Varta,

The second Rukai knife is beautiful, mostly the open side of the scabbard with its carved bronze leaf. Congrats! Could you tell us its dimensions? definitely a ceremonial knife, and as such should be longer than the average.

Varta, any Paiwan knife to share on the other thread I just started?

Best

Nicolas

Last edited by yuanzhumin : 23rd June 2011 at 01:59 AM.
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2011, 02:44 AM   #25
migueldiaz
Member
 
migueldiaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Manila, Phils.
Posts: 1,042
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by yuanzhumin
I wouldn’t say Taiwanese aborigines have gods. It’s more a world of spirits interacting with the livings, with spirits being able to make good or bad deeds. The snake is more seen like the original ancestor among the 3 Paiwan groups (Paiwan proper, Rukai and Puyuma).
Thank you! It's very similar then to our peoples' ancient beliefs (which similarity is not surprising of course). Regards.
migueldiaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2011, 03:59 AM   #26
Nathaniel
Member
 
Nathaniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 752
Thumbs up

Beautiful! Thank you all for posting pictures of these beautiful native blades!
Nathaniel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2011, 07:27 AM   #27
varta
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 19
Default

The first Rukai knife is much older. The tip was burnt (was his owner drunk?) maybe it was a period of time when a knife had no value anymore and it was thrown away... The bronze sheet on the other has been taken away (recycling?)
The decoration shows interesting patterns; it has the red-crimson colour so caracteristic of ancient time.
So this knife has a touching story... when the second one has a "classic" Rukai style probably from the first quarter of the XXth century.


Let me show a small knife to prepare betel nuts. (about 12cm long)
Attached Images
 
varta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2011, 11:47 PM   #28
yuanzhumin
Member
 
yuanzhumin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ex-Taipei, Taiwan, now in Shanghai, China
Posts: 177
Default

Hi Varta,

Great little knife!
I love it.
I'm very happy to see some of your pieces.
Many thanks for showing them.

Best

Nicolas
yuanzhumin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 12:13 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.