Man's ceremonial jacket
ramie fibre, shells
88.0 (h) x 48.0 (w) cm
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Elaborately decorated jackets are markers of high status and protection in Southeast Asia. While little is known about the specific functions of Atayal tunics, in the indigenous cultures of Taiwan fine items of apparel were embellished with images alluding to great ancestors and with symbols that marked the physical prowess of successful headhunters. This fine hemp jacket laden with white shell discs was worn by a mature male member of a noble family with access to the prestigious shell beads imported from the coast.