Costumes of Gaoshan Nationality in Taiwan
Gaoshan nationality in Taiwan, one of the ethnic minorities of China, has a population of more than 400,000. Descended from the Baiyue nationality in ancient China, Gaoshan nationality now comprises nine branches including Atayal, Amis, Bunun, Paiwan, Yami and so on. Gaoshan people still keep many distinctive traditional cultures, and beautiful clothing is one of them.
Traditional costumes of Gaoshan people in Taiwan are in bright colors, especially red, yellow and black. Men usually wear waist skirts, slip-on, embroidered and feathered hats and gowns, etc; while women usually wear jackets, long skirts, aprons and leggings, etc. There are a lot of ornaments as well, such as hat, arm and foot decorations, and gorgeous garlands of flowers worn on the head at dancing parties. For Gaoshan people in Taiwan, these are not only beautiful accessories, but also symbols of social status. This was a tradition of the Baiyue nationality in ancient China as well.
Traditional costumes of the nine branches of Gaoshan nationality in Taiwan are unique in different ways. For instance, Paiwan men like clothes with embroidery decorations and feathered ornaments; women favor head kerchiefs, long embroidered dresses and gowns; Amis people wear embroidered aprons, and Amis men wear embroidered gowns and shawls of red feathers; Bunun men usually wear leather garments, while women wear turbans, jackets and waist skirts; the most luxuriant and beautiful clothes of Peinan people are those for brides and for grown up men.
Traditional costumes of Taromak people are colorful and exquisite, and the best among costumes of Gaoshan nationality. During festivals, Taromak men would dress impressively with smart cockades and fancy dresses, while women are gorgeous in gowns or skirts decorated with beads.
The costumes of Atayal people can be classified into leisure wear and attires. The former are worn at ordinary times as they are very convenient for working. Women's leisure wear are usually barrel-like clothes without collar, sleeves and buttons. Splendid attires are reserved for festivals. People would also wear lots of ornaments. Men have more ornaments than women.
The Saisiat branch, though fewer in number, have very unique costumes, of which the most attractive is an ornament called "Beixiang" (meaning back rings), or "Tunshi" (meaning the ornament for the buttocks). It is shaped like a vest, narrow at the top and broad at the bottom, embroidered with various flower patterns, and trimmed with tassels and small copper bells only worn at sacrificial or dancing occasions. Worn on backs, they sound pleasantly when people are dancing.