1. Industry and Food
The Sediq people used to mainly practice agriculture and hunting. Sweet potatoes, taro, glutinous millet, and common millet were the common crops and staple foods, while gourds, beans, and wild edible plants were the non-staple foods, and began growing upland rice in the modern times. Sediq people acquired meat by hunting for animals in between farming, including flying squirrels, wild boars, and Formosan sambar deers. They smoked and roasted meat for easier and longer preservation.
The Sediq people make clothes with ramie linen. Sediq clothes are characterized by their red color. Traditionally, both men and women wore linen capes. Men’s clothing commonly seen includes a white long-sleeved long top with red banded patterns. Women’s clothes are characterized by the long-sleeved short top with thin red stripes and a one-piece long skirt. Since the Japanese colonization in the 20th century, printed cotton fabric began gaining popularity. The long top is mainly made from red cotton cloth, with blue calico sleeves and shoulders, Mandarin collar, and small copper bells are sewn at the hem. In recent years, these features have been promoted through improvement of traditional attire to singularize Sediq cultural elements.
The Sediq people call weaving “tminun”, including weaving crafts and cloth weaving. The former is the traditional skill of men, while the latter is the traditional skill of women. Men weave daily life implements with the Formosan supplejack (Berchemia formosana), bamboo peels, and ramie yarn. Tools they make include back baskets, net bags, clothing baskets, fish nets, fish cages, fish baskets, and circular sieves. Cloth weaving plays an important role in Sediq culture. Women usually weave with the ramie yarn made from ramie fibers. After dyeing, they become fabrics for making clothes, accessories, and bedsheets. Common colors include green, red, yellow, black, and white.
4. Patasan (Facial Tattoos)
The facial tattoo culture is extinct. As a sign of adulthood in Sediq culture, apart from being a cultural value, facial tattoos served as an embellishment and a method to avoid evil. The same culture is also found in the neighboring Atayal and Truku peoples. Sediq men could get a facial tattoo after decapitating an enemy or passing the hunting test. Women had to earn the elder’s recognition in weaving and farming before they could tattoo their faces. Sediq people believed that when people passed away and joined the ancestral spirits, ancestors would judge if a person was of Sediq descendent based on the facial tattoos. Therefore, the facial tattoos had religious meanings. The positions of tattooing included the face, the chest, the abdomen, hands, and feet, with the face being the most important position. In general, men tattooed vertical stripes on their chin, while women usually tattooed parallel or cross stripes symmetrically on both cheeks. Both men and women tattooed the forehead. Traditionally, men tattooed one horizontal stripe at a finger’s width across, while women had five to seven horizontal stripes. The Sediq facial tattoo culture was banned during Japanese colonization, thus disrupting the facial tattoo custom and habit.
The Sediq people make three types of traditional buildings by their functions: family houses, auxiliary buildings to the family house, and public buildings (watchtowers). Sediq family houses have two styles: sunken-bottom wooden houses and ordinary bamboo houses. The former is the traditional Sediq family house mostly found in Nantou. The latter is a convenient house developed after migration and mostly found in Yilan and Hualien in eastern Taiwan. The traditional sunken-bottom family house is supported by a column from the sunken bottom. In other words, half of the family house sits below ground, thus called the sunken bottom family house. In general, the site of the family house is rectangular or squared. The quantity of columns around the site varies based on the building size. There are two stoves in the house, one in the center and one by the wall. The center stove is a tripod stove for warming up the house. The other stove facing the wall on the inside of the house is for daily cooking.