Chinese Culture > Culture in Taiwan > The Culture of Taiwan's Indigenous Peoples > Tsou Culture


The Tsou's

The Tsou, who number about 6,000 and originate from Yushan (Mt. Jade), are divided into northern and southern subgroups on the basis of geographic distribution, language, and customs. Traditionally, Tsou people have a very tight tribal organization, using men's meeting houses and farming, fishing, and hunting rituals to maintain the tribe's fundamental education and beliefs. Special cultural features include the Mavasvi war ceremony held after vanquishing enemies, Homeyaya harvest ceremony, skills in preparing animal hides, taboo against hunting or eating bears, and military courage. The southern Tsou have a shell ceremony (derived from the belief that ancestral spirits reside in shell heads taken out by priests and held by each person during the ceremony) and farming rituals. During the period of Japanese rule, however, immigration into southern Tsou areas by large numbers of Bunun people has led to them becoming a minority and greatly influenced the transmission of their traditional culture.