The Bunun are a group of closely related peoples living in the mountains of central Taiwan. Historically, Bunun religion was based on the concepts of hanido (spirits of living beings and objects) and dehanin (a vague personification of the forces of nature). The Bunun converted to Christianity from the 1960s onwards, but the version of Christianity that they practice is highly syncretic - the Bunun describe their traditional religion and Christianity as "maszan" (the same).

Show Map of Location

Traditional Culture(1870-1895)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 69
Ferrell (1969), pp. 34
Nature god(s) Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 70
Ferrell (1969), pp. 34
Lebar (1972), pp. 137
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 137
Huang (1995), pp. 70-71
Yang (2011B), pp. 224-225, 227-228
Deified ancestor(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 137
Huang (1995), pp. 70-71
God(s) Absent (Source)
Ferrell (1969), pp. 34
Lebar (1975), pp. 137

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 78-79

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Yang (2011B), pp. 224-225, 227-228
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Yang (2011B), pp. 227-228
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Baldick (2013), pp. 24
Parnickel (2000), pp. 288
Primordial pair Present, and genealogically linked to humans now living (Source)
Baldick (2013), pp. 24
Parnickel (2000), pp. 288
Culture hero(es) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Ferrell (1969), pp. 34
Huang (1995), pp. 69-71
Lebar (1975), pp. 137-138
Yang (2008), pp. 58-59

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 70

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 98
Yang (2011B), pp. 229
Social hierarchy tapu Absent (Source)
Huang (1995)

Mana

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

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 82-83
Lebar (1975), pp. 137
Yang (2011A), pp. 319
Costly sacrifices and offerings Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 137
Huang (1995), pp. 63-89
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a household, no larger than the local community (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 136
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 136, 137

Rites

Piercing Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 134-138
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 134-138
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 134-138
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 135, 136
Tooth pulling Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 135
Social Environment +
Population 16000 (Source)
Alvarez (1927)
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 134, 136
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Huang (1993), pp. 57
Importance of Matrilateral descent Low (Source)
Huang (1993), pp. 57
Kinship system Omaha (Source)
Huang (1993), pp. 57
Polygamy Monogamy prescribed (Source)
Huang (1993), pp. 57
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Huang (1993), pp. 57

Conflict

Conflict within communities Moderate (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 72-73
Conflict between communities of the culture Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 75, 78, 82-83
Lebar (1975), pp. 137
Yang (2005), pp. 510
Conflict with other cultures Common, at least every five years (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 75, 78, 82-83
Lebar (1975), pp. 137
Yang (2005), pp. 510
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 65
Lebar (1975), pp. 137
Yang (2005), pp. 510
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Blundell (2000), pp. 44
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 263.3 (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)
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)
Adelaar (1994), pp. 60-61
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Blundell (2000), pp. 44, 182
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Adelaar (1994), pp. 60-61
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Blundell (2000), pp. 44, 182
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Baldick (2013), pp. 5
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 135
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 135
Land-based gathering Medium (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 135
Huang (1995), pp. 65
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 135
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 135

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 134-135
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 134-135
Water-based gathering Absent (Source)
Lebar (1975), pp. 135

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Absent (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 65
Metalworking Present (Source)
Huang (1993), pp. 56
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Blundell (2000), pp. 44, 182

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude 23.5 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Blundell (2000), pp. 44, 182
Longitude 121.0 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Blundell (2000), pp. 44, 182
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
Sun et al (2000), pp. 302
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(1895-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Yang (2011A), pp. 317-319
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Yang (2008), pp. 53-54
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Yang (2011B), pp. 217
Yang (2005), pp. 510-511

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Yang (2008)
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
De Busser (2013), pp. 59
Yang (2005), pp. 491
Immigration Absent (Source)
Fan et al (2004), pp. 1313
Tse (2000), pp. 154
Language shift High (Source)
Lee (2004), pp. 109, 114-115
Foreign education systems High (Source)
De Busser (2013), pp. 63
Law (2002), pp. 66

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence High (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 65
Yang (2005), pp. 497-498
Yang (2011A), pp. 319
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Huang (1995), pp. 65
Yang (2011A), pp. 319

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
De Busser (2013), pp. 63
Yang (2005), pp. 492
Yang (2011B), pp. 221, 230

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Partly voluntary (Source)
De Busser (2013), pp. 62-63
Yang (2005), pp. 489, 493
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
De Busser (2013), pp. 59
Yang (2005), pp. 489-491
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Unofficial religious syncretism High: (Source)
Yang (2008), pp. 56-60
Yang (2011B), pp. 228-229
Institutional religious syncretism Low (Source)
Yang (2008), pp. 56, 58-59
Yang (2011A), pp. 318
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Yang (2005), pp. 510-511
External Links
References
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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.

De Busser, R. (2013). The Influence of Christianity on the Bunun Language: A Preliminary Overview. Proceedings of the International Workshop on “Special Genres” in and around Indonesia, pp 59-76. Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Retrieved from http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/30732389/DeBusser_TUFS_2013_TheInfluenceOfChristianityOnTheBununLanguage.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ56TQJRTWSMTNPEA&Expires=1390714908&Signature=LFYizhuluRaku4S%2FgpCosYw3ukw%3D&response-content-disposition=inline

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

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

Fan, C., Hung, C., Du, W., Liao, C. and Su, K. (2004). Seroepidemiology of Toxocara canis Infection among Mountain Aboriginal Schoolchildren living in Contaminated Districts in Eastern Taiwan. Tropical Medicine and International Health, 9 (12), 1312-1318. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2004.01332.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

Huang, Y. (1993). "Bunun". In P. Hockings (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Volume V - East and Southeast Asia) (pp 55-58). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

Huang, Y. (1995). The “Great Men” Model among the Bunun of Taiwan. In Li, P.J., Tsang, C., Huang, Y., Ho, D. & Tseng, C. (Eds.) Austronesian Studies Relating to Taiwan, 59-107. Taipei: Academia Sinica. Retrieved from http://c.ianthro.tw/sites/c.ianthro.tw/files/da/df/403/403822_0001.pdf

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.

Lee, H. C. (2004). A Survey of Language Ability, Language Use and Language Attitudes of Young Aborigines in Taiwan. In Hoffman, C. and Ytsma, J. (Eds.), Trilingualism in Family, School and Community. Trowbridge, U.K: Cromwell Press Ltd. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.nz/books?hl=en&lr=&id=GwuMU4TSickC&oi=fnd&pg=PA101&dq=lee+language+ability+taiwan&ots=SZ1nudr059&sig=mIbZgx9Wcf7VbnxS_vG7qCojKqY#v=onepage&q=lee%20language%20ability%20taiwan&f=false

Martin, S.A. (2011). Laipunuk (Nei Ben Lu) – The Last Frontier of the Taiwan Aborigines during the Japanese Occupation of Taiwan: Ethnographic Narratives of a Bunun Elder. IAJPS, 7 (1), 123-142. Retrieved from http://web.usm.my/ijaps/articles/IJAPS-7(1)-Art6-123-142.pdf

Parnickel, B. (2000). Taiwanese Incest Myths and their Possible Western Malayo-Polynesian Derivates. Oriente Moderno (New Series), 2, 287-299. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/stable/i25817710

Sun, X., Li, X., Luo, Y., & Chen, X. (2000). The Vegetation and Climate at the Last Glaciation on the Emerged Continental Shelf of the South China Sea. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 160 (3-4), 301-316. DOI: 10.1016/S0031-0182(00)00078-X

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.

Tse, J. K. (2000). Language and a Rising New Identity in Taiwan. International Journal of Society and Language, 143 (1), 153-164. DOI: 10.1515/ijsl.2000.143.151

Yang, S. (2005). Imagining the State: An Ethnographic Study. Ethnography, 6, 487-515. DOI: 10.1177/1466138105062474.

Yang, S. (2008). Christianity, Identity, and the Construction of Moral Community among the Bunun of Taiwan. Social Analysis, 52 (1), 51-74. DOI: 10.3167/sa.2008.520303.

Yang, S. (2011A). Cultural Performance and the Reconstruction of Tradition among the Bunun of Taiwan. Oceania, 81 (3), 316-330. DOI: 10.1002/j.1834-4461.2011.tb00111.x.

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