Rattan was commonly used by the indigenous Tsou tribe to make daily use items such as trays, dishes and baskets because it was easily obtainable from the surrounding hillsides. Today, the remaining traditional basket makers are working to pass on rattan weaving to the younger members of the tribe. Mo’o Peongsi is one of those who has learned this craft, but later turned to woodcarving. He has combined his tribe’s tradition for rattan use with his love for wood, carving trays such as this one to imitate the patterns of woven rattan. This tray is made from cedar wood without the use of varnish or other chemical sealants. It is engraved on the back with the Chinese characters “mu” and “jiang”. “Mu” refers to the artist’s position as a church pastor and “jiang” means craftsperson or carpenter.
Mo’o Peongsi is a member of the indigenous Tsou tribe from Taiwan. He was born and raised and still lives in Leye Village in the Alishan (Mt. Ali) area. More than 12 years ago, he began learning rattan weaving from a tribal elder. But, about ten years ago, he had the opportunity to study wood carving, an art form that has interested him since his childhood. In his free time, he creates woven rattan-like wooden trays, combining the tribe’s traditional use of rattan plates with his love for wood carving.