Austronesian Backstrap weaving looms on Taiwan

Taiwan Looms - 台灣织机


As there are no groups of Austronesian ethnic left on Chinese mainland, for a long period Taiwan seemed to be the origin of Austronesian culture and its loin looms, from where it spread all over the Southeast Asian islands. 


Examples of ethnic loin looms on Taiwan Island

  • Atayal Box Loom/Trunk Loom
  • Paiwan Cane Loom


Taiwan's Indigenous People

A video about Taiwan's indigenous people...

There are plenty of Austronesian tribes of indigenous people on Taiwan island. Here some of them:


  • Bunun
  • Amis (Amisoka, Pangcah) - 阿美族
  • Atayal - 泰雅
  • Kavalan - 噶瑪蘭
  • Paiwan - 排湾族
  • Rukai - 魯凱族
  • Seediq - 賽德克族
  • Tao - 達悟族 / 达悟族
  • Taroko - 太魯閣族
  • Tsou - 曹族

Tribes, Names & Looms

  • Bunun Loom
  • Amis Loom (Amisoka, Pangcah) - 阿美族背带织机
  • Atayal Loom - 泰雅背带织机
  • Kavalan Foot Loom - 噶瑪蘭足織機
  • Paiwan Loom - 排湾族背带织机
  • Rukai Loom - 魯凱族背带织机
  • Seediq Loom - 賽德克族背带织机
  • Tao Loom - 達悟族 / 达悟族 背带织机
  • Taroko Loom - 太魯閣族背带织机
  • Tsou Loom - 曹族背带织机


足織機 - foot loom  | 背带织机 - strap loom 

Atayal people

Translation of the Chinese documentation by google:

"This afternoon, with the car of the teacher of the photography class of the Ministry of Education, I visited the workshop of the Wulai tribe Atayal weaving teacher. The 81-year-old grandmother also demonstrated the traditional loom in person. Looking at the old grandmother's old hands, they were still full of Strength, in addition to the indescribable emotion, I feel that the time has been misplaced and returned to the past! I really love this kind of in-depth cultural tour, even half a day is enjoyable."


Isn't she great!? And I bet, she'll never's going to stop!

Translation of the Chinese documentation by google:

"How do Taiwanese Aboriginal Atayal women traditionally count as adults? What do men need to learn? Learn about Atayal craft culture from the British Library's "London Fine Craft Week".


A weaver of the Atayal people backstrap weaving a box loom

Seediq people

An older weaver of the Seediq people with a trunk loom....

Her people believe, that a woman, who can't weave, will fall from the rainbow bridge into afterlife!

What means, weaving is someway how essential to Seediq women!

Dmoyi qaya tninun miri ta ma mntena so gaga ta rmihu patis


Translation of the Chinese documentation by google:

"Welcome to the Seediq Culture Dictionary. Today, we will introduce the functions of Seediq traditional weaving boxes and traditional weaving tools.


In order to weave beautiful cloth, the Seediq traditional weaving must humbly ask the elders for guidance. In the past, the traditional weaving tools were of different sizes and shapes, and the use of each cloth was also different. The previous weaving teaching did not describe in detail The text narration, but the elders personally operate it, while the weaver girls observe and teach skills, including the use of several important weaving tools, which will be demonstrated and taught by Mr. Lituk. Now let's watch it together."


weaving tool: qyqeya tninun


Another video on backstrap weaving a trunk loom of the Seediq people.


The Puniri technique of the Seediq people


Translation of the Chinese documentation by google:

"Since ancient times, Seediq women have to learn to weave. The patterns of weaving can be divided into plain weave, twill weave, diamond weave, floating weave and pick weave. Among them, the technique of Puniri "jing pick" is fine and complicated, which belongs to the highest level , and only the Seediq people have this technology. According to traditional norms, inheritance must be "hereditary".


Uma, from the Central Plains tribe, is committed to learning the Seediq weaving culture. She has the "jing picking" technique, which was taught by Zhang Yuying, who is known as the Seediq national treasure Weaver Girl. Seeing that the skill is about to be lost, Zhang Yuying hopes to learn through Uma, let the culture live on.


The weaving cloth with red as the base, if you look closely, the patterns are diverse and exquisite. Uma said that at that time, the elder passed away before he could teach the four kinds of sutra patterns, but Uma continued to study the techniques, and even studied the traditional cloth handed down by many elders of the tribe. So far, Uma has more than 10 kinds of sutra patterns. .


Uma said that if the clansmen want to learn weaving skills, if they have no foundation, they can start with a modern desktop machine. After they have the concept, they can learn ubung, which is a ground machine, and practice the basic skills before weaving. A beautiful piece of traditional clothing."

Bunun people

Translation of the Chinese documentation by google:

"Going from Guanshan City to the Central Mountain Range, you soon escaped into a road that slowly climbed along the hillside, extending many trails like branches forked, leading to the surrounding farmland and homes. This is a Bunun tribe named after the Hokkien language "Kanding". During the Japanese occupation period, after planning and agreement by the Japanese, the tribe moved to the foot of the mountain to settle down, cultivate and trade, and guard their houses and land all the way until today. The walls of a certain house in the tribe are painted with details of the life of the tribesmen pounding rice, fishing and hunting; strings of millet are hanging from the eaves of the terrace, as if the roof has been re-paved with plants.

This is the cultural rejuvenation workshop "Kaiana (translated as Guyana, which means hanging ornaments) workshop", which is located in the top of the canopy. Since the establishment of the previous generation Hu Tianguo and Liu Jinjiao, many media reports It is mentioned that the millet culture of the Bunun people is promoted here; what is less well-known is that this workshop is rare in Taitung. . Guyana's weaving teacher Ibu (Hu Yuru) spreads bamboo mats and looms on the ground, and chats with us about her "Bunun weaving story"


This video doesn't show you that much of practise on a loom, but shows you the story-teller-effect of a loom...

Study on Weaving in Haiduan Township (Bunun people)

Weaving methods of the Bunun people...


Translation of the Chinese documentation by google:

"Under the personal guidance of the lecturer, the trainees gradually understood the basic weaving method of the Bunun people. This is the Bunun weaving training course held by Taoyuan Cultural Relics Museum. The trainees hope to find the traditional weaving skills of the Bunun through the course.


Taoyuan Museum of Art said that this training course includes the use of ribbon looms and the basic teaching of traditional land machines. In addition to course practice and discussion, it also allows students to regain their enthusiasm for inheriting Bunun culture.


The museum also stated that the works of the training course will be exhibited in October, including Bunun chest pockets, traditional suspenders, and pictures and texts of Bunun weaving. Those who are interested can visit."

Paiwan people

An old lady of the Paiwan people backstrap weaving a foot loom..


Translations of the Chinese documentation by google:

"Paiwan weaving culture was originally a traditional wisdom that was inseparable from the life of the Paiwan people. As time passed cruelly, it gradually faded out of the life of the Paiwan people. The patterns on the traditional clothing were electronically embroidered, or The "Paiwan embroidery" imported from abroad has been replaced, and the clothing with warmth is no longer the same as before, and the requirements for culture are no longer the same as those of the ancestors.


In addition to the influence of external factors, does this result also stem from the clan people forgetting their own culture? Most people know the importance of tradition and context, but there are too few people who are willing to practice and believe. They always give themselves too many excuses before doing it, and the beautiful wisdom of many ancestors is just like this, and eventually submerged in excuses middle.


It was not until I met two teachers, Xu Chunmei and Jiang Meizhen, and learned from the two teachers, when the vaida (stick knife) hit down and made a sound of "dong, dong", from that moment on, did I truly connect with the Paiwan weaving culture. With the connection, the crisp voice wakes up the forgotten tribesmen to find their own cultural interpretation and put these beautiful wisdom into practice in daily life."

A presentation of Paiwan backstrap weaving


Translation of Chinese documentation by google:

"Weaving History Tjinnun Paiwan

Traditional Weaving Continues Press Conference

Cultural allusions, pattern interpretation, Paiwan weaving techniques

After a hundred years, the ground loom is tied to the body to reproduce the appearance of the overall cultural system of "Tjinnun - Paiwan Weaving".


Organizer/Ministry of Culture, National Taiwan Museum of Prehistoric Culture

Co-organizers/Kata Culture Studio, Xu Chunmei Studio

Video Production / Maidianzi Digital Integration Co., Ltd.

Video shooting / Lin Wanzhen, Huang Xinping

Video Editing / Huang Xinping"

Kavalan people

Banana weaving of Kavalan people on a backstrap loom

Taiwanese warping device

Grandma warping on a device used for traditional backstrap looms.

A short video instruction on how getting the ready-done warp from the Taiwanese warping device onto a backstrap loom.

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Backstrap weaving Taiwan Looms

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