Ethnology Museum at Academia Sinica

Display at the museum of the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Last night our Culture and Ethnic Structure of Taiwan class at NCCU went on a field trip to the Institute of Ethnology (民族學研究所) at Academia Sinica (中央研究院). The museum is small but well organised and contains many interesting artifacts and models. Most of the displays are about Taiwan's indigenous people.

Siriya (Plains people) display at the Insitute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

The display pictured above is labelled Pingpu (平埔族) or Plains peoples. The display relates to the Siraya, the people who lived on the plains around Tainan and were the first indigenous people in Taiwan to come into extensive contact with foreigners. Namely the Dutch who arrived in Taiwan in 1624. The red paper on the left is a land contract. It is written in Chinese, although other land contracts from that time can be found written in Sinkang, the romanised language of the Siraya developed by Dutch missionaries. 

Southwest China display at the Ethnology Museum, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

As well as the displays about Taiwan's indigenous people there is a section of the museum about the indigenous people of Southwest China. Academia Sinica was originally founded in China in 1928 and later reestablished in Taiwan after 1949. The museum also has a special exhibition area with displays about folk religion and Mazu in Taiwan. 

The museum is open to the public, but check the opening hours before you go. There is also a library which is open to the public, but we didn't have the chance to see it last night.  

*more photos at flickr.