The Pinuyumayan people began agriculture with foxtail millet (Setaria italica). Later, they also grew Cannabis sativa (grains, flax), Glycine max (soybeans), and wheat. In the 18th century, King Pinadray introduced the techniques and equipment for growing Oryza sativa (rice) to bring the heyday for agricultural production and techniques. Due to policy encouragement and support, the area of paddy farming increased significantly during Japanese colonization. Since the 1960s, they have changed some crops to cash crops, including the sugar-apple (Annona squamosa) and the betel (Piper betle).
Traditionally, millet, upland rice, sweet potato, and taro are the staple foods of the Pinuyumayan people. Meat from hunting, fish and shellfish from fishing are their sources of protein. During festivals, the Pinuyumayan people wrap glutinous rice and salted pork with the leaf of the Alpinia zerumbet (shellflower) to make the shellflower millet dumpling or shellflower glutinous rice dumpling. This is a traditional Pinuyumayan food. The betel nut is indispensable to Pinuyumayan people’s daily life, it is also an important offering in Pinuyumayan rituals.
The Pinuyumayan people make clothes with flax. Traditional colors include red, yellow, and green. Decorations include black and white diamond patterns with gradation and with elaborate cross-stitch counted-thread embroideries. The Pinuyumayan people identify the gender and age group of people by clothing. Apart from enhancing social status identification, this is a way to demonstrate the defined social relationships within the ethnic group. Male clothing is differentiated by age group. Clothes for youths are the most dazzling, including the chest covering, black shorts, culottes, betel bags, and waist bags. For dress clothes, males carry a knife and glass beads or silver. The clothes for females reach marriageable age are the most fabulous, including the head scarf, top, belly binder, skirt, and leggings. When dressing up, the chief and the priest will wear feather headgear and a baldric. Witches have shoulder ornaments to mark out their special status. During rituals, the Pinuyumayan people make wreaths for people in the tribe or guests. When coming of age, youths can wear only the fern wreath (the same as in a funeral) in the Palakuan, the Adult Assembly Hall. After the coming of age ceremony or the funeral, they can change to a beautiful floral wreath. People who receive most wreaths at fetivals show good friendships and relationships with fellow people in the community. The wreath is also one of the most impressive ornaments to visitors.
The Pinuyumayan people are good at weaving tools with rattan or bamboo. With entrelac, herringbone, and hexagonal weaving techniques, they make lightweight and handy daily-life tools, such as the rattan basket, rattan bag, and the back basket. As a daily necessity, the mat woven with shellflower leaves is cool in summer and warm in winter. Bamboo is durable, lightweight and sturdy, it is commonly used to make tools such as the bamboo cups, smoking pipes, as well as fishing and animal traps.
Traditional Pinuyumayan architecture includes family houses, assembly halls, and ancestral shrines. The elevated guardrails for the male assembly hall carry a style found in Southeast Asian cultures.Depending on the permissions and purposes, Pinuyumayan buildings are divided into public and private buildings. The former includes the assembly hall, the ancestral shrine, and the watchtower; while the latter covers the family house, the barn, and the witch’s ancestral shrine.
◎ The family house is a rectangular building with a thatch roof and bamboo walls. Doors are opened on both long sides of the rectangle, while windows are on the shorter sides. The indoor layout includes beds woven along the walls and a stove made of 3 pieces of stones at the front. The barn is located at the rear wall corner where farming tools, such as the mortar and the pestle, are stored. Traditionally, the size of the family house represents the owner’s social status. The family house of the chief’s immediate family is the largest, while the family houses of his extended family and other people are smaller. The family house of neewly-weds is the most modest.
◎ Pinuyumayan assembly halls follow a stringent age stratification system. Males move in to Dakuvan, the Juvenile Assembly Hall at ages 12-13 to receive physical and hunting training and education. They move out of the hall after they get married. There are two types of assembly halls by age stratification Dakuvan (Juvenile Assembly Hall) and Palakuan (Adult Assembly Hall). The Dakuvan is a two-story building with a stairway. The living room has an umbrella-shaped thatch roof and is surrounded by a circular hallway. At the center of all living rooms is a fireplace. The Palakuan sits on a rectangular foundation. It is an oval-shaped building with a thatch roof and bamboo walls. Inside the hall there are bamboo beds and a fireplace in the center, which is the most important part of the hall.Palakuan (Adult Assembly Hall)Dakuvan (Juvenile Assembly Hall)
◎ Ancestral Shrine Patrilineal Ancestral Shrine
The ancestral shrine is a ritual venue, where most ancestral rituals and major events are held. Traditional ancestral shrines have bamboo walls and a thatch roof. Inside the shrine there are religious facilities such as the altar and the fireplace. The magic of Pinuyumayan witches is quite famous. They usually use magic for curing illness, exorcism, and benediction. Therefore, the witch ancestral shrine is also developed. A witch ancestral shrine usually sits in the west and faces the east. Deity shrines are placed in the northeastern corner, the most sacred place in the shrine.
Music and Songs
Pinuyumayan music is elegant and has clear rhythms. Most lyrics tell different stories, hence songs are rather poetic. Depending on the occasions, Pinuyumayan songs are divided into:
Ritual Songs: Pinuyumayan ritual songs are mainly used in rituals. Ritual songs are classified by people’s jobs and status in the community. For example, there are men-only songs for Vasivas (the Monkey Hunting Ritual), Mangayau (the Grand Hunting Ritual), and Mangayaw (Annual Ritual); and ancient “Irairao (Head-Hunting Ballade)”
Songs of work and gatherings are for women only, such as Work Song.
In modern society, Pinuyumayan music is still active and alive. Lots of people from the community write new songs and are influential in thepop music world. Many Pinuyumayan artists have become famous singers in the show business, such as Sen-pao Lu (Baliwakes, known as the founder of Pinuyumayan songs), De-fu Hu (Parangalan, Kimbo), Jian-nian Chen (Pau-dull), Hsiao-chun Chi (Samingad Blubluone), Hui-mei Chang (Kulilay Amit), Ming-jen Chen, and Hsieh-hsing Lu (Sangpuy Katatepan Mavaliyw).
Pinuyumayan dance reflects the gender and age differences in the ethnic group. In the dance, each person must follow the steps according to his/her social status. Pinuyumayan people have different dances for different rituals. For example, the dance in the Vasivas (Monkey Hunting Ritual), is characterized by warriors holding a shield in their hands and brave dance steps (also called the shield dance steps), and the “dance of spirits” (also called the brave men’s dance or the warrior’s dance) for thanksgiving and community protection.
Due to the influence of different tribes and community locations, there are slight differences in the Pinuyumayan language. For example, the Pinuyumayan language spoken by Pinuyumayan people from the south Zhiben speak with strong voiced sounds influenced by Paiwan and Rukai languages.While Pinuyumayan peple from the north are influenced by the Amis pronounicatioin; in addition, due to the frequent contact with the Han people, they also speak fluent Fulao dialect, commonly known as Taiwanese.