[CUSTOMS OF SAVAGE TRIBE. – (臺灣) 生蕃人風俗 (Taiwan) seiban hito fūzoku “(Taiwan) barbarian customs”]


[CUSTOMS OF SAVAGE TRIBE. – (臺灣) 生蕃人風俗 (Taiwan) seiban hito fūzoku “(Taiwan) barbarian customs”]
Imperial Japan
Unknown photographer
March 28, 1907 to February 28, 1918
Black & white image printed on postcard, backing imagery and text printed in black. Handwritten message in cursive written in English on backing (“More formosan savages; For Ar[??]en”. Printed text in Japanese (Front: “(臺灣) 生蕃人風俗”. Back: “郵便はかき”), English (Front: “CUSTOMS OF SAVAGE TRIBE”), and French (Back: “CARTE POSTALE”).

Originally produced in Japan or Taiwan. Donated by Paul Barclay to Lafayette College Special Collections.

This photo depicts Paiwan aborigines surrounding a Japanese flag, a relic of the diplomacy of the Japanese punitive expedition to Taiwan of 1874 in the Hengchun peninsula. In 1871, 54 Ryukyuan sailors were beheaded by Paiwan aborigines in Kuskus (Gaoshi) after their vessel got shipwrecked on the southeastern tip of Taiwan. The reason for this incident remains unresolved– it is suggested that misunderstanding of customs between both groups led to the Mudan interpreting Ryukyuan actions as being deceitful, thus prompting them to eliminate their supposed enemies.
This photo likely aimed to assert Japanese imperial victory and conquest over the Taiwanese aborigines; as a postcard, its ability to communicate messages about indigenous populations with like-minded, western imperialist nations further reinforced the foreignness of indigenous populations and legitimized their elimination and/or forceful subjugation.
Copyright undetermined
Lafayette College, Special Collections and College Archives, Imperial Postcard Collection
[ip2026] CUSTOMS OF SAVAGE TRIBE. // Lafayette Digital Repository
Bibliographic Citation
Unknown photographer, [ip2026] CUSTOMS OF SAVAGE TRIBE., 28 March 1907- 28 February 1918, ip2026, postcard. Special Collections and College Archives, Lafayette College, Easton, PA.

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