18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel

Orchid Island, on the Pacific Ocean in southeastern Taiwan, has a unique canoes culture. It takes an important part in the Tao indigenous people’s life. The canoes there is called “Tatala ” by Tao. Tatalas are made from planks of wood. It takes 3 years from choosing materials, producing to launching ceremony. Tao people regard nature with deep respect. They  talk to trees before cutting down, and then plant, cultivate and take care new trees. That’s their philosophy of respecting the environment and sustainable management of natural resources. Tatala is made without using iron nails and any materials which harm the environment. Instead, using original wooden nails, joineries and resin to build the wooden boat. The paint materials of Tatala is made by white clamshells, red clay and black pot soot, so the colors for engraving and painting are almost white, red, and black. The horizontal pattern and the surrounding black and white grids mean "wave".  The human-figured pattern on the body of the boat means “working together”. These three colors represent different meanings for the Tao people independently. Black means noble, red means enthusiasm, and white means the waves. And the concentric circles like sun rays on tatalas represents the eye of the boat. This pattern has the sacred symbolic meaning of avoiding evil, blessing, praying and guiding for Tao people.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Photo Location: Taiwan
Camera: ILCE-7RM4
Copyright: © yung-sen wu