Paiwan Knife

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IMG 4925

Code CH12

A knife from the Paiwan (Baiwan) tribe in Taiwan, c. 1950. The scabbard features the paipushe snake (also called "vorovoboron"), which the Paiwan refer to as "the Elder".  This figure is revered as the progenitor of all Paiwan nobility. It is the spirit guardian of the tribe.

Above the snake are two figures together, with arms partially raised. These signify living members of the tribe. On the hilt the crown figure is the tribe's headman.