Ipay Wilang, the last surviving government-designated preserver of traditional indigenous facial tattoos, passed away on Saturday.
She died at her home in Hualien County, said Kimi Sibal, a Hualien-based historian who cowrote a 2016 book on Taiwan’s then six remaining indigenous facial tattoo preservers.
Ipay Wilang, a Sediq, had returned to Hualien earlier on Saturday after being discharged from a hospital in New Taipei City, said Lo Mei-ching (羅美菁), head of the New Taipei City Indigenous Peoples Department.
Photo provided by the Ministry of Culture
She had been living with her eldest daughter in New Taipei City and was taken to Tucheng Hospital on Friday after she became unwell after catching a cold, Taiwan Indigenous TV reported.
Although her registered birthday was April 1, 1922, Lo said Ipay Wilang was actually 106 years old, because people at the time registered newborns some time after birth.
Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod said the passing of Ipay Wilang meant that people can now learn about facial tattoo culture only from historic records.
Photo provided by Chen Wen-shan, chief of Nanhe Village in Pingtung County Laiyi Township
He thanked Kimi Sibal, who has been documenting the practices and taken photographs of more than 300 individuals across Taiwan who have the indigenous facial tattoos, and said his council would introduce indigenous culture to more people.
Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得), whose ministry published the book cowritten by Kimi Sibal, said in a statement that only Atayal, Seediq, Truku and Saisiyat people maintained the tradition of facial tattoos, which is a historically important part of Taiwan’s cultural heritage.
Lee said his ministry would seek a presidential citation to honor the life of Ipay Wilang.
The Hualien County Government in 2009 listed the traditional facial tattoo practices of Atayal, Sediq and Truku as cultural heritage, and named Ipay Wilang as a preserver of the art form in 2016, Lo said.
In the three communities, men can have facial tattoos on their forehead and jaw, and women on their forehead and cheeks when they were deemed capable of starting a family of their own, said Kimi Sibal, who has documented the practices for over two decades.
People with facial tattoos are believed to be able to join their ancestors in the afterlife, he added.
The practice was banned during Japanese colonial rule between 1895 and 1945, and Ipay Wilang was forced to remove her facial tattoo when she was 15, leaving scars on her face, Kimi Sibal said.
Separately, the Council of Indigenous Peoples on Saturday said that Aljalju rulelavan, one of the few preservers of the Paiwan women’s hand tattoo tradition, has passed away at the age of 93.
Aljalju died on Monday last week in Pingtung County’s Laiyi Township (來義), the council said.
Council Deputy Minister Calivat Gadu, a Paiwan, visited the township on Saturday to pay his respects and posthumously bestow on Aljalju the Third Class Award for Contribution to Indigenous Peoples, in recognition of her status as a preserver, the council said.
Aljalju was one of seven remaining culture conservationists in the township, who were certified last year by the Pingtung County Government in recognition of their preservation of veci’nua lima, the traditional hand tattoos of Paiwan women.
Traditionally, with the approval of the entire village, a woman may seek the village chief’s permission to obtain the tattoos, which reflect her social and familial status in the Paiwan culture, the council said.
‘SUSPENDED’: The restrictions are likely to have a greater effect on seafood producers, as exports of food and drinks to China had already decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic China’s customs administration late on Monday announced bans on more than 100 Taiwanese food brands ahead of a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Beijing said that the blacklisted exporters — which include tea, honey and seafood producers — failed to renew their export registration and could therefore only sell their products until the end of this month. The exporters may submit additional documents this month, Food and Drug Administration Director Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said, adding that the agency would help them complete their registrations. The bans might be politically motivated, as Taiwanese manufacturers were treated differently than
DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Instead of using positive propaganda about China to attract Taiwanese, the CCP is now focusing on negative hype about Taiwan, a researcher said China has changed tactics in its cognitive warfare campaign against Taiwan, now favoring divisive negative stories about Taiwanese society, rather than positive stories about China, an Academia Sinica researcher wrote in a recently published paper. “In the past, when its economy was strong, China liked to use positive propaganda, including proposing a number of incentives and measures to attract Taiwanese,” Hung Tzu-wei (洪子偉), an associate research fellow at the academy’s Institute of European and American Studies, said on Friday. However, with its economy disrupted by the US-China trade war, the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, China has gradually turned toward “mobilizing
Legislators across party lines yesterday welcomed US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, marking the first time in 25 years that an incumbent US House speaker has visited the nation. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) cited the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) support for Pelosi’s visit — including from senior party members KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — as evidence that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) foreign diplomacy is on the right course. Pelosi’s visit has special meaning for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region as a whole, DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said. The
VISIT PLAN REACTION: Legislator Wang Ting-yu of the DPP said that Chinese threats have been going on continuously for decades, but ‘Taiwan will not cave in to fear’ Many Taiwanese have shrugged off China’s warnings of repercussions from a possible trip to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying they are accustomed to Beijing’s saber rattling and saw no cause for alarm. Such a trip would be the first by a US House speaker since 1997. While news of a possible visit has been widely reported in Taiwan, front-page stories in the past week have focused on political campaigns ahead of local elections this year, as well as record-breaking temperatures. Waiting for a doctor’s appointment on a busy street in Taipei, Chen Yen-chen gave voice to a widely


Shop Sephari