Legends of the beads of the Paiwan tribe: Part 7

This is the seventh 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 warrior bead. The hundred pace pit viper is a traditional sacred animal of the Paiwan tribe and its rhombus-shaped pattern is a symbol of courage. For a male of the tribe, possessing a Mananigai bead was one of the highest honors. It was only given by the chieftain to warriors who had excelled on the battlefield or on the hunting grounds and had been of great contribution to the village.  


This is also called the bead of “good luck”. Traditional Paiwan social structure was a concentric circle pattern that was divided into three levels. These levels each had a clan name: Aetitan (those born of the earth); Mamazangilan (those born of the sun) and Pualu (descendants of those recognized for special contributions). The giving of family names was governed by a strict set of rules. If a person from the sun clan married a person from another clan, the sun clan would present this bead to the children of that union to represent that they were members of the clan and were to be given the clan’s family name. Thus, this bead became associated with elevating one’s social status.




This bead is associated with protection against evil spirits. According to tribal legend, there was once a river gorge that had a pile of rocks, which would turn into a monster every night and terrorize a nearby village. A shaman told the people of the village to carry slightly yellowed animal bones or a Marulatsuna bead as protection against this monster and other evil spirits. This bead features a light yellow background with several “eyes”. 


This is also called the bead of love and the peacock feather bead, as its pattern resembles a feather from the tail of a peacock. There are many versions of the legend of this bead. One says that there was once a man who could turn himself into a peacock. One day he saw the beautiful daughter of a great chieftain and it was love at first sight. He asked the chieftain for his daughter’s hand in marriage, but the chieftain refused. This man beseeched the chieftain until he finally agreed. After the wedding, the man turned into a peacock and carried his bride up to the heavens dropping a large number of these beads down on the earth as gifts. This bead also has another pattern, which consists of multi-colored wavy lines, and is considered more valuable than that of the peacock feather.



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.