The International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) is taking South Texas into a journey of rich Taiwanese history. “Indigenous Weaving: An Exhibition of Native Objects from the National Museum of History, Taiwan” will provide visitors with a rare glimpse into the unique lifestyles and value systems of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. The event will be held from May 19th to October 2nd with an opening reception and special guest from the National Museum of History, Taiwan on Thursday, May 19th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Indigenous Weaving’s Rich History
The indigenous tribes migrated to Taiwan thousands of years before the first Chinese Han immigration. The tribes developed distinctive life skills through their interaction with the natural environment and with each other. The great variety of indigenous cultures and the diversity of their traditional knowledge have become an integral part of multi-cultural Taiwan.
Weaving is a distinctive craft for the country’s indigenous peoples. They utilized the horizontal back-strap loom to process ramie fibers into clothes. Sometimes, tanned hides were also used for clothing. After coming into contact with other cultures, cotton, fur and manmade fabrics gradually replaced the ramie fibers. Further influences came from Han culture, resulting in a rich blend of ancient and new traditions.
Traditional patterns and unique weaving styles are disappearing and are very difficult to learn, as pattern design alone requires precise calculations to ensure that different colored threads go into the right position and at the correct widths. A missed calculation will very likely distort the entire work, so only a few members of the older generation still produce woven products. Young weavers in Taiwan are training in the ancient methods in an attempt to keep this rich culture from vanishing.
General admission is FREE for IMAS Members, $7 for adults, $5 for seniors or students with ID and $4 for children aged 4-12. For more information, please call 956.682.0123 or visit www.theimasonline.org.