Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines

The North-South-East-West at the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, Taipei Taiwan in March 2005.

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The North-South-East-West Video Installation with Metis storyteller Graham Thompson was presented at the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, Taipei Taiwan in March 2005.

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The Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines

The Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines is a museum located just 200 metres diagonally across from the National Palace Museum in Shilin District, Taipei, Taiwan.

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It houses exhibits relating to the cultures and histories of the Taiwanese aborigines. The aboriginal tribes live mainly in the mountainous east and south of Taiwan and have historically spoken a variety of Austronesian languages, so it was thought important to have a central location in the capital where their cultures could be on display. Both permanent and rotating exhibits are a part of the museum. The museum is notable for its architectural design, featuring a 13.2 x 1.1 metres (43 x 3.6 feet) white granite totem pole at the entrance.

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The Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines was established in 1994 as a specialist museum founded on the collection and display of artefacts of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. It is dedicated to promoting mutual understanding between different ethnic groups, through careful research, preservation and explanation of the essence of Aboriginal cultures. Achievement of these aims of mutual respect and appreciation will help to create a harmonious and gentle society.

The museum was originally based on the donation by its founder and chairman Safe C.F. Lin of his personal collection of Taiwanese Aboriginal artefacts acquired over many years in keeping with his desire to put something back into the community. By sharing his treasures with the whole of society he hoped to contribute to the ideal, “In loving our native place we must cherish each other’s cultures.”

Shung Ye Museum’s main displays introduce the natural environment of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples, their daily utensils, clothing and personal decoration, ritual objects and religious life. Films shown in the auditorium provide an understanding of the present conditions of Aboriginal life. The museum also has a special exhibition room where related exhibitions are held at regular intervals to broaden visitor’s field of concern, and to present the many faces of humankind’s culture.

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