Also known as: Tayal; Taiyal

The Atayal live in the mountains of northern Taiwan. Atayal religion was based largely on ancestral spirits of the dead (rutux), and required regular headhunting. While headhunting was a widespread practice among Taiwanese aborigines, the Atayal earned a special notoriety for it.

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Traditional Culture(1875-1900)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Ishi (1917), pp. 131
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
McGovern (1922), pp. 143
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
McGovern (1922), pp. 143-145
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
Ancestral spirits Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 148
Ishi (1917), pp. 118
McGovern (1922), pp. 143
Deified ancestor(s) Absent (Source)
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
McGovern (1922), pp. 143
God(s) Absent (Source)
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
McGovern (1922), pp. 143

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 148
Ishi (1917), pp. 118, 126

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Ishi (1917), pp. 118
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Walter & Fridman (2004), pp. 858
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
Culture hero(es) Absent (Source)
Wang (2012), pp. 11

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Ishi (1917), pp. 118
McGovern (1922), pp. 143-145

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
Ishi (1917), pp. 124
Resource management tapu Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144-145
Ishi (1917), pp. 118-132
McGovern (1922), pp. 140-148
Social hierarchy tapu Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 147
Ishi (1917), pp. 118-132
McGovern (1922), pp. 140-148

Mana

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

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 147-148
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Ishi (1917), pp. 121-122
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a local community, no larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 146, 147, 148
Political and religious differentiation Considerable overlap between religious and political leaders (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 146, 148

Rites

Piercing Absent from culture (Source)
McGovern (1922), pp. 185
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
McGovern (1922), pp. 186-192
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
McGovern (1922), pp. 186-192
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
McGovern (1922), pp. 188-191
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
Tooth pulling Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
McGovern (1922), pp. 187
Social Environment +
Population 28,000 (Source)
Alvarez (1927)
Lebar (1975), pp. 143
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
Polygamy Monogamy prescribed (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145

Conflict

Conflict within communities Low (Source)
Tang & Tang (2010), pp. 105-106
Conflict between communities of the culture Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 48, 147-148
McGovern (1922), pp. 112
Conflict with other cultures Common, at least every five years (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 147-148
McGovern (1922), pp. 102, 112
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Tang & Tang (2010), pp. 105-106
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Taiwan) (2014)
Blundell (2000), pp. 404
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 197.8 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Taiwan) (2014)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Blust (1996), pp. 125-128
Trejaut et al (2005), pp. 1362
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Baldick (2013), pp. 5
Manthorpe (2005), pp. 104
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144
Land-based gathering Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144
Water-based gathering Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Minor (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144-145
Metalworking Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 143, 144
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Taiwan) (2014)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude 24.5 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Taiwan) (2014)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 121.3 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Taiwan) (2014)
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Taiwan) (2014)
Island Size (km²) 32260.0 (Source)
Ding et al (2005), pp. 300
Maximum elevation (meters) 3952.0 (Source)
Ding et al (2005), pp. 300
Post Contact History(1900-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Wang (2012), pp. 10-12
Yoshimura (2007), pp. 130, 146
Lebar (1975), pp. 143
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Wang (2012), pp. 12
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 143

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Wang (2012), pp. 10-12
Yoshimura (2007), pp. 130, 146
Lebar (1975), pp. 143
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 143
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Law (2002), pp. 66

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely involuntary (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 143
Yoshimura (2007), pp. 102
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 143
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Stainton (2002), pp. 63-65
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

Baldick, J. (2013) Ancient Religions of the Austronesian World: From Australasia to Taiwan. London, UK: I.B. Tauris.

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. (1996). Beyond the Austronesian Homeland: The Austric Hypothesis and its Implications for Archaeology. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 86 (5), 117-158. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1006623.

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.

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

Daft Logic Area Calculator. (2014). Retrieved from: http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-area-calculator-tool.htm.

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

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Taiwan). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/580902/Taiwan

Ethnologue (Map of Taiwan). (2014). Map of Taiwan. Ethnologue. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/map/TW

Ferrel, R. (1969). Taiwan Aboriginal Groups: Problems in Cultural and Linguistic Classification. Taipei, Taiwan: Academa Sinica.

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

Ishi, S. (1917). The Life of the Mountain People in Formosa. Folkfore, 28(2), 115-132

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

Law, W. (2002). Education Reform in Taiwan: A Search for a 'National' Identity through Democratisation and Taiwanisation. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 32 (1), 61-81. DOI: 10.1080/03057920120116535

Lebar, F. (Ed.). (1972). Eastern Sumbanese in Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia. Volume 1: Indonesia, Andaman Islands, and Madagascar. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files Press.

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

Manthorpe, J. (2005). Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

McGovern, J. (1922). Among the Headhunters of Formosa. London, UK: T. Fisher Unwin Ltd.

Reid, D. (2010). Indigenous Rights in Taiwan and the Smangus Case (Master's Thesis). National Chengchi University, China.

Stainton, M. (2002). Prebyterians and the Aboriginal Revitalization Movement in Taiwan. In Cultural Survival Quarterly, 2002, 26.2 p.63-65

Tang, C-P., & Tang, S-Y. (2010). Institutional Adaptation and Community-Based Conservation of Natural Resources – The Cases of Tao and Atayal in Taiwan. Human Ecology, 38, 101-111.

Trejaut, J. A., Kivisild, T., Loo, J. H., Lee, C. L., He, C. L., Hsu, C. J., … & Lin, M. (2005). Traces of Archaic Mitochondrial Lineages Persist in Austronesian-Speaking Formosan Populations. PLoS Biology, 3 (8), 1362-1372. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0030247.

Walter, M.N., & Fridman, E.J.N. (2004). Shamanism: An Encyclopedia of World Beliefs, Practices, and Culture, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc.

Wang, I-C. (2012). De/Construction of Heroes: A Case Study in an Atayal Village in Taiwan. In Conference Proceedings for Conference on Asian Studies 2012.

Yoshimura, M. (2007). Weaving and Identity of the Atayal in Wulai, Taiwan ( Masters Thesis). University of Waterloo, Canada. Retrieved from https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/handle/10012/3354.