Also known as: Tayal; Taiyal

The Atayal live in the mountains of northern Taiwan. They were notorious for headhunting, and were among the last group of Taiwanese aborigines to be brought under Japanese control.

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Traditional Culture(1896)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Absent (Source)
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
Nature god(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
McGovern (1922), pp. 143-145
Ancestral spirits Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Kaneko (2000), pp. 254-255
Lebar (1975), pp. 148
Deified ancestor(s) Absent (Source)
Kaneko (2000), pp. 254-255
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
God(s) Absent (Source)
Kaneko (2000), pp. 254-255
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
McGovern (1922), pp. 143

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Ishii (1917)

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Kaneko (2000), pp. 254-257
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Kaneko (2000), pp. 254-257
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31
Culture hero(es) Absent (Source)
Wang (2012)
Ferrell (1969), pp. 31

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Ishii (1917)

Classes of Tapu

Social hierarchy tapu Absent (Source)
Kaneko (2000)
Ishii (1917)
Resource management tapu Absent (Source)
Kaneko (2000)
Ishii (1917)
Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Ishii (1917)

Mana

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

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 147-148
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Ishii (1917)
Kaneko (2000), pp. 261-262
Largest religious community Larger than a local community, smaller than the society (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 146
Political and religious differentiation Considerable overlap between religious and political leaders (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 146, 148

Rites

Tooth pulling Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
McGovern (1922), pp. 187
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
McGovern (1922), pp. 186-192
Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
McGovern (1922), pp. 185
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
McGovern (1922), pp. 188-191
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 145
McGovern (1922), pp. 186-192
Social Environment +
Population 30,000 (Source)
Alvarez (1927)
Lebar (1975), pp. 143
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 143, 145-147
Kaneko (2000), pp. 273-274
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

(No) external warfare Common, at least every five years (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 121, 136, 141, 143
Ishii (1917)
Conflict within community Low (Source)
McGovern (1922), pp. 111
Tang & Tang (2010), pp. 105-106
(No) internal warfare Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Ishii (1917)
McGovern (1922), pp. 112
Lebar (1975), pp. 147-148
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)
Alvarez (1927)
Distance to nearest continent 197.8 (Source)
Alvarez (1927)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Blust (1996)
Trejaut et al (2005)
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 Minor (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)
Alvarez (1927)
Lebar (1975), pp. 144

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 24.4 (Source)
Alvarez (1927)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 121.3 (Source)
Alvarez (1927)
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1896-2014)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
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 143
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Wang (2012), pp. 12

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Kaneko, E. (2000). Glimpses at the other world: Traditional mortuary practices of the Atayal. In D. Blundell (Ed.), Glimpses at the Other world: Traditional Mortuary practices of the Atayal (pp. 246-281). Berkeley, CA: Phoebe A. Hearst Museum, Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines.

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.

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.

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.

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.