Legends of the beads of the Paiwan tribe: Part 4

This is the fourth 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 called the adviser bead and is associated with wisdom. In traditional Paiwan teachings, if a conflict broke out between two men, the men should fight only with their bare fists and not with weapons such as knives, sticks or stones. This is a lesson learned from the longhorned beetle which bores its way into the wood of a tree without any tools. This bead has two different patterns, one with white dots on a blue background and one with white stripes on a blue background. The latter is considered more valuable. 


The name of this bead can also be spelled Macamaca. Matsa or maca means “eye”. This bead is associated with protection. In traditional thinking, if someone dared to steal beads from someone else, the protective “eyes” of this bead would put a curse on them and they would become ill or meet with bad luck. Traditionally, two of these beads were placed at either end of a necklace to prevent the necklace from being stolen.



The Paiwan paid close attention to natural phenomena. Tamulang refers to a type of insect that is often seen on taro leaves. The elders say that these insects only appear when there is a good harvest of taro. Thus, this bead is associated with good agricultural harvests, as well as good hunting and fishing.  


This is also called the “wishing bead”. In former times, if someone wanted to make a wish, they would place the Garamugam bead on a thread and carefully swing and throw it. Where it landed could be used to predict the probability of the wish coming true and in what time frame.



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.