Legends of the beads of the Paiwan tribe: Part 3

This is the third part of an eight-part article introducing the traditional names, meanings and legends associated with 34 glass beads of the Paiwan tribe.



This is also referred to as the “treasure” bead. According to tribal legend, when a young man wanted to try to win the heart of a young woman, he would climb to the top of a tree to look for a colorful rainbow click beetle as a gift for her. Women liked to wear these beetles in their hair as they glittered with color.  


In traditional Paiwan culture, shamans used a number of items for the implementation of healing rites which they kept in a “prayer box”. These included pieces of metal, dried animal skin, soapnut tree leaves, small blades and Zaqu beads. A strand of two or three of these beads was attached to an infant’s bed to keep away evil spirits. Thus, this bead is also called the prayer bead.




This is also called the butterfly bead. In traditional Paiwan society, those who were extremely agile were often compared to butterflies. When a village met with an emergency, the first person on the scene was rewarded with this bead. Thus, it is a symbol of honor. Tiativ beads with wave patterns on both sides on black background are considered the most valuable.  


This bead is associated with the legend of a water fairy. In a quiet stream a fairy with very long hair delighted in swimming and playing in the water. One day a group of naughty children angered the fairy. She sent a strange, sticky rain down from the heavens as punishment. However, those wearing the Kigaruc bead were spared from this misfortune. Thus, this bead is considered to provide protection.



Source: Much of the information contained in this article is from research conducted by and provided courtesy of Umass Zingrur.  

Note: There are variations in bead shapes, colors and patterns. These illustrations are a reference only and may not provide a completely accurate depiction.