This keychain features an imitation Formosan sambar deer antler and traditional style bead of the Rukai tribe. As each keychain is handmade, allow for some variation in the length of the imitation antler and the size and pattern of the bead. The Formosan sambar deer (Cervus unicolor swinhoei) is the largest native herbivore in Taiwan with males reaching a height of up to 1.2 meters. It is usually found in forests at elevations of 300 to 1500 meters where it forages for leaves and tender grass. This was a traditional game animal for Taiwan’s indigenous tribes.
Photos courtesy of Henry Westheim Photography/Asia Photo Connection.
Alelean Marulagai is from the Rukai tribe, born in Wutai Township of Pingtung County. Marulagai is a master craftsperson having gained recognition among the people of her tribe and of other tribes as one of the few remaining traditional headdress makers. Traditionally, Rukai hunters proudly displayed their achievements. Wild boar tusks and jaw bones, deer antlers, eagle claws and other animal parts adorned headdresses and even the exterior and interior of homes. Now, that the hunting culture is rapidly disappearing and to complement the concepts of and trends in environmental conservation, the Wild Man Working House, which is made up of Marulagai and Han Chinese designer Daphne Lo, is creating imitation tusks, teeth and antlers. These are used in conjunction with traditional style Rukai beads to produce contemporary jewelry designs and accessories that are infused with the beauty of Rukai culture.