Also known as: Amis

The Ami or Amis are the largest Taiwanese aboriginal ethnic group. Their homeland is in the east of the island, between the Taitung rift valley and the Pacific Ocean. Unlike most other Taiwanese aborigines, the Ami have a myth describing their migration from overseas.

Show Map of Location

Traditional Culture(1899)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Chen & Coe (1954)
Er-wei (1974)
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Chen & Coe (1954)
Er-wei (1974)
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Chen & Coe (1954)
Er-wei (1974)
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Chen & Coe (1954)
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Chen & Coe (1954)
Er-wei (1974)

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Er-wei (1974)

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Er-wei (1974)
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Er-wei (1974)
Myth of humanity’s creation Absent (Source)
Chen & Coe (1954)
Er-wei (1974)
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Chen & Coe (1954)
Er-wei (1974)
Culture hero(es) Absent (Source)
Chen & Coe (1954)
Er-wei (1974)

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Er-wei (1974)

Classes of Tapu

Social hierarchy tapu Absent (Source)
Chen & Coe (1954)
Er-wei (1974)
Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Mabuchi (1971)

Mana

Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Blevins (2008)
Keesing (1984)
Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Blevins (2008)
Keesing (1984)
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 121
Largest religious community Larger than a household, no larger than the local community (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 120-121
Chen & Coe (1954)
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 120-121
Chen & Coe (1954)
Social Environment +
Population 30,000 (Source)
Alvarez (1927)
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118, 120
Mabuchi (1971), pp. 133
Importance of Patrilateral descent Low (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 119
Importance of Matrilateral descent High (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 119
Polygamy Monogamy prescribed (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 119
Marital residence Matrilocal or uxorilocal - with wife's kin (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 119

Conflict

(No) external warfare Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 121
Conflict within community High (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 121
(No) internal warfare Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 121
Mabuchi (1971), pp. 133
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 117
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 116
Distance to nearest continent 306.7 (Source)
Blundell (2000), pp. 44, 182
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. 2.23
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118
Land-based gathering Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118
Water-based gathering Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 118-119
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 116

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
Copper (2021)
Island Size (km²) 32260.0 (Source)
Ding et al (2005), pp. 300
Maximum elevation (meters) 3952.0 (Source)
Ding et al (2005), pp. 300

Location

Latitude 23.4 (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 117
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 121.4 (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 117
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1899-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Mixed / Neither (Source)
Shiun-wey (2003), pp. 262-364
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Shiun-wey (2003), pp. 262-266
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 117
Shiun-wey (2003), pp. 260
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Shiun-wey (2003), pp. 263-264
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 117
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Copper (2021)

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
Copper (2021)
Air travel Present and long-distance (Source)
Copper (2021)
Sea port Present (Source)
Copper (2021)

Loss of Autonomy

Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 117
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Unofficial religious syncretism Medium (Source)
Shiun-wey (2003), pp. 265-266
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Shiun-wey (2003), pp. 277
External Links
References
Alvarez, J.M. (1927). The Aboriginal Inhabitants of Formosa. (With Map). Anthropos, 22:1-2, 247-258. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/stable/40445104

Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Blevins, J. (2008). Some Comparative Notes on Proto-Oceanic *Mana: Inside and Outside the Austronesian Family. Oceanic Linguistics, 47 (2), 253-274. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ol/summary/v047/47.2.blevins.html

Blundell, D. (Ed.). (2000). Austronesian Taiwan: Linguistics, History, Ethnology, Prehistory. Taipei: SMC Publishing Inc.

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Brunton, R. (1989). The Abandoned Narcotic: Kava and Cultural Instability in Melanesia. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Chen, C. & Coe, M.D. (1954). An Investigation of Ami Religion. Quarterly Journal of the Taiwan Museum, 8 (3-4), 249-262).

Copper, J. C. (2021). Taiwan. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/Taiwan.

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Ding, T., Yuan, H., Geng, S., Lin, Y. & Li, P. (2005). Energy flux, Body Size and Density in Relation to Bird Species Richness Along an Elevational Gradient in Taiwan. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 14 (4), 299-306. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-822X.2005.00159.x

Er-wei, J. T. (1974). Notes on the religious beliefs and rituals of the Ami of Formosa. Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, 2(3) 115-122.

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629696.

Lebar, F. (Ed.). (1975). Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia. Volume 2: Philippines and Formosa. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files Press.

Mabuchi, T. (1971). The Aboriginal Peoples of Formosa. In G.P. Murdock (Ed.), Social Structure in Southeast Asia (pp 127-141). New York, NY: Johnson Reprint Corporation.

Shiun-Wey, H. (2003). Accepting the Best, Revealing the Difference: Borrowing and Identity in an Ami Village. In P. Clart & C.B. Jones (Eds.), Religion in Modern Taiwan: Tradition and Innovation in a Changing Society. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.

Strouthes, D. (1993A). Taiwan Aboriginal Peoples. In P. Hockings (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of World Cultures Volume V: East and Southeast Asia (pp 256-258). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.