Glass beads are one of the treasures of the Paiwan tribe. From oral legends, these beads magically appeared in the wilderness, and today their origins remain unclear. As there were no records left on how to make these beads or the materials that were used, Paiwan artists in Sandimen Township in Taiwan’s southern Pingtung County have carried out research to re-create them, each one with a special motif and meaning, such as eyes, feathers of a peacock, the lily flower or tears of the sun. The seven red beads were made in the traditional style with rough finish and feature wave and eye patterns. Eye patterns were traditionally thought to provide protection against evil spirits. The addition of silver accents and bells was inspired by the silver ornaments that often accompanied traditional glass bead necklaces. Smaller burnt orange glass beads also decorate the chain which ends in an orange and black glass bead closure.
Sha Tao is a member of the Paiwan tribe from Sandimen Township in southern Taiwan. He first entered the art world as a dancer. On international tours, he would bring glass and ceramic beads to give as gifts and to sell. He found that they were very popular and unique to Taiwan’s indigenous Paiwan and Rukai tribes. They are also one of the cultural treasures of the Paiwan. From this experience, Sha Tao made the decision to open a workshop to produce glass and ceramic bead accessories and art works.