Indigenous weaver certified as Taiwan 'national treasure'

09/25/2020 11:22 PM
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Ljumiyang Pacekelj, award-winning weaver of the indigenous Paiwan tribe
Ljumiyang Pacekelj, award-winning weaver of the indigenous Paiwan tribe

Taipei, Sept. 25 (CNA) Ljumiyang Pacekelj (許春美), a 72-year-old weaver from the indigenous Paiwan community in Pingtung County, was certified as a living "national treasure" by the Ministry of Culture for her skilled weaving technique that preserves an important element of Paiwan culture.

The certification was made on Sept. 22 and makes Ljumiyang one of only eight "national treasures in the county." She is the only person in Taiwan to have mastered the most traditional Paiwan weaving techniques, county officials said on Friday.

The National Craft Achievement Award winner and county-certified master of traditional crafts told CNA that she learned different traditional weaving skills by memorizing her father's oral teachings from a young age.

However, traditional Paiwan fabric has largely disappeared over the past few decades, she said, adding that the best way to ensure the preservation of traditional weaving techniques is to use them to produce fashionable clothes.

Expressing her delight at being recognized as a "national treasure," Ljumiyang said she hopes to pass on Paiwan culture to the next generation by teaching -- regardless of whether the students are indigenous or Han Chinese, men or women -- while also publishing books on Paiwan weaving techniques and motifs.

According to Ljumiyang, traditional Paiwan fabric patterns reflect different symbols, from those that represent taros, the main staple of the community, to symbols of animal footprints. These showcase the relations between fabric and the land, she said.

(By Kuo Chih-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)

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