Hua Tung (Hualien-Taitung) area, homeland of the
Amis people, is closed in by rows of mountains
and the ocean. Surrounded by these barriers, the
tribe has become rather dependent on their natural
neighbors as providers for their daily needs, developing
the knowledge and ability to live off of nature
by hunting and fishing. This has become an important
part of their culture that has been passed down
from generation to generation.
As the world around them becomes more developed,
the convenient lifestyles of the modern world inevitably
invade and replace more traditional ways. Thus,
it's very rare nowadays to find someone like Liu
Lin Liang Fa, who still treasures and practices
the traditions of his ancestors.
Liu Lin Liang Fa is well known for his bamboo creations.
He single-handedly designed and built a watchtower
using bamboo, earning him first prize at the National
Aborigine Arts and Crafts Contest. Some of his
other works include the 25 bamboo cupboards and
the three-floor-high bamboo watchtower that he
specially built last year for the Amis Cultural
Festival held in Cheng Gong Township in Taitung
In the Amis society, kinship is matrilineal. Male
spouses and children bear the family name from
the female spouse's side, thus the Liu has been
added in front of his original name, Lin Liang
Fa. This 67-year-old Aborigine is a man with a
bold personality and a well-built physique. He
has kept the lifestyle of his ancestors, living
independently off of the natural materials provided
by his environment. With his own skills he hunts
in the mountains for food and built his own shelter
out of bamboo.
In his earlier days, he spent most of his time
learning traditional craft making skills from his
elders. After six or seven years of being a professional
fisherman at sea, he decided to retire. His restless
personality now leads him to spend most of his
free time up in the mountains where he takes these
raw materials, combined with his natural talents,
to create traditional Amis-style crafts. His work
ranges from delicately woven bamboo containers
to small wooden cabins, most being functional items
that he uses in his daily life. He also uses some
leftover materials to create a recycled sculptural
piece that has the appearance of a motorcycle.
Although this caught a buyer's attention, the artist
refused to sell it because he considered it an
experimental model with lots of room for improvement.
Going back to the traditional lifestyle of his
ancestors, his retired life has been fulfilling
for him for the most part. He keeps himself rather
busy, spending the majority of his time up in the
mountains living with nature. He often worries
that his ancestors' knowledge and skills will slowly
become a mere legend for the younger generations,
and uses his talents to make traditional Amis-style
crafts as an effort to prolong the original spirit
of his tribe.
See that man wearing the straw hat? That would
be Liu Lin Liang Fa, an artist and exceptional
member of his tribe dedicated to maintaining the
true Amis spirit.