／/ MUSEUM IN TAITUNG /／
The Lanyu Cultural Park also includes an outdoor area that displays traditional Tao houses. The houses are partly dug in and typically consist of three parts: main house, workshop, and verandah. The walls are made of stone, while the thatched roofs have a wooden structure. The semi-sunken design makes the houses more resistant to summer typhoons and northerly monsoons, and keeps them warm in winter. The outdoor area also has a Flying Fish Theater for performance and traditional dances such as the warrior dance and hair dance.
The rise of Japanese-style official residences along Taitung’s streets
The Tao live in six villages around the island called Yeyou, Yuren, Hongtou, Yeyin, Dongqing, and Langdao. A seafaring people, the Tao are known for their tatala boats, made from wooden boards joined together with wooden dowels. Their patriarchal society is organized by fishery groups, whose main rituals are related to fishing and flying fish. Typically, the men go fishing while the women tend to the farms, where they grow millet and taro as their main crops. Besides fishery groups, there are house-building groups and irrigation groups, which divide labor and streamline economic activity. The staple foods of the Tao tribe are taro, sweet potato and millet, supplemented with fish. The Tao divide fish into “springtime fish” (among no rayon) and “lower fish” (among no karawangan). Springtime fish are migratory fish like flying fish and common dolphinfish. The flying fish come in with the Kurushio (black tide), jumping high and far out of the ocean waves, and they are sacred fish to the Tao people, who believe them have originated from heaven. The lower fish, caught in the other seasons, are fish that live closer to the coastal reefs. In addition, they also divide fish into wuyod (good fish), raet (bad fish), and kanen no raraker (old people’s fish). Good fish can be eaten by everyone, while the bad fish can only be had by men. Old people’s fish is only consumed by elderly men. So, good fish will generally first be eaten by the women. This taxonomy of fish reflects the life wisdom of the Tao ancestors, allowing different fish species population to rest and recover, and preventing overfishing and respecting nature’s limits.