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Collection Highlights

Carved House Panel with High Crown Figure, Kavalan Tribe

Carved House Panel with High Crown Figure, Kavalan Tribe

L 59cm × W 18cm , Late 19th Century

According to historical documents and existing artifacts, the Pingpu Group of northern Taiwan (including Ketagelan Tribe of the Taipei region and Kavalan Tribe of Yilan region) owns a tradition of wood carving. It has been concluded that this wood panel carved with a human figure is a traditional house panel of the Kavalan tribe of the Yilan Pingpu Group. The Pingpu Group of northern Taiwan traditionally lived in high stilt houses. It is unsure now which part of the house this carved panel belongs to. Yet the standing human figure on this panel features the characteristics of northern Pingpu Group carvings both in style and in carving technique, such as planar carving methods like line or low relief, the frog-shaped figure with both hands and legs spreading outwards, and the filling effect that fills up the decorated area with patterns. Moreover, it should be specially noted that this stylistic human figure wearing a high crown and a waist skirt is the most important feature for the northern Pingpu Group sculpture. What exactly does this figure represent or symbolize? Is this an ancestor or spirit? It is hard to determine without relevant information. But regarding the timing of its appearance in house panels, burial tombs, female wedding headdresses, spinning machines, etc., it must be significantly symbolic in the Kavalan culture, not just a simple decorative pattern, because it accompanies the important stages of human life like wedding and funeral and also represents daily life activities to decorate houses and spinning machines

Anthropology

Carved House Panel with High Crown Figure, Kavalan Tribe

Carved House Panel with High Crown Figure, Kavalan Tribe

L 59cm × W 18cm , Late 19th Century

According to historical documents and existing artifacts, the Pingpu Group of northern Taiwan (including Ketagelan Tribe of the Taipei region and Kavalan Tribe of Yilan region) owns a tradition of wood carving. It has been concluded that this wood panel carved with a human figure is a traditional house panel of the Kavalan tribe of the Yilan Pingpu Group. The Pingpu Group of northern Taiwan traditionally lived in high stilt houses. It is unsure now which part of the house this carved panel belongs to. Yet the standing human figure on this panel features the characteristics of northern Pingpu Group carvings both in style and in carving technique, such as planar carving methods like line or low relief, the frog-shaped figure with both hands and legs spreading outwards, and the filling effect that fills up the decorated area with patterns. Moreover, it should be specially noted that this stylistic human figure wearing a high crown and a waist skirt is the most important feature for the northern Pingpu Group sculpture. What exactly does this figure represent or symbolize? Is this an ancestor or spirit? It is hard to determine without relevant information. But regarding the timing of its appearance in house panels, burial tombs, female wedding headdresses, spinning machines, etc., it must be significantly symbolic in the Kavalan culture, not just a simple decorative pattern, because it accompanies the important stages of human life like wedding and funeral and also represents daily life activities to decorate houses and spinning machines