Legends of the beads of the Paiwan tribe: Part 8

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


This is the bead of peace. It is also referred to as the double drinking cup bead. The Paiwan tribe traditionally used a double drinking cup (in which two wooden cups were connected with handles for lifting at either end) during weddings. It was also used in peace ceremonies as a sign of unity and a symbol of trust, as traditionally the liquid could pass between both cups, so that each drinker was assured that no poison had been added.  


This is referred to as the eagle bead. In traditional Paiwan society, if someone performed an act of heroism or sacrifice or provided an important contribution to the village or an individual, the reward was an eagle feather cap, which was a symbol of honor.




This small round orange bead is associated with prosperity and symbolizes assistance and added support, as well as increasing fortune and protection against illness and disasters. This was a highly cherished bead in Paiwan culture and when worn was thought to bring prosperity. It is said that one of these beads could be given in exchange for a pig or goat.   


This small round yellow bead is associated with the driving away of evil spirits. According to tribal legend, there was once a man-eating monster living in the mountains. If it saw this bead it did not dare to attack. This bead is also associated with gatherings, as well as gold, silver and other valuables.  


Similar to Vurave, this small round green bead was traditionally considered to be able to keep away evil spirits. According to tribal legend, there was once a monster that inhabited a river, but would flee at the sight of this bead. It is also associated with boundaries and taboos.  


This small round red bead is associated with peace and safety. It symbolizes abundance, satisfaction and longevity. According to tribal legend, there was once a lonely spirit that scared the children of the village. If a child wore this bead, the spirit would not dare to come close.



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.