Sunday, 30 January 2011

Taroko NP Visitor Centre

10 °C

The tour guide stopped here. but we didn't visit inside (because the tour guide didn't invite us). I think he was here to get tickets.

We did see some sculpture of the Taroko people (aka Truku). They're the aboriginal inhabitant of this place. They're noted for tattooing faces to mark the coming of age. During the Japanese 50 years occupation of Taiwan, tattooing was outlawed because the occupying Japanese considered it a sign of uncivilised conduct. Today, only women over 90 years old could be seen with facing tattoos. Or young ones because the facial tattoo ban had been lifted. But very few young Truku women - no longer isolated from the mainstream Taiwan society - would want to follow this tradition as it contradicts to the Chinese beauty ideal of the 21st century: unblemished skin, especially the face.

2nd contradiction, in modern society, fashion trumps tradition. Tattoo (of any kind) maybe fashionable one day, but gone the next. You wouldn't want to follow fashion that leave a permanent mark, like facial tattoo. Or even if tattoo is fashionable for a long time, but a particular design is unlikely to stay fashionable. In a fast changing world, tradition gets swept away too easily.

Brass engraving, Truku women, Taroko National Park, Taiwan 

Not far from here is also near the start of the Central Cross-Island Highway (中部橫貫公路) or Provincial Highway No. 8. It connects the East and West coasts together in Central Taiwan.

Gateway, Central Cross-Island Highway, Taroko National Park, Taiwan

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