Rukai Tribe — People Of The Cloud Leopard Team with new friends Dario and Joy, in the rich culture of the Paiwan and Rukai Tribes at Sandiman Village in Southern Taiwan Team with new friends Dario and Joy, in the rich culture of the Paiwan and Rukai Tribes at Sandiman Village in Southern Taiwan

Rukai Tribe — Taiwan’s People Of The Cloud Leopard

Rukai Tribe or Tsarisen—People of the mountains, live on Taiwan’s Southern Tip of the Central Range. These mountains extend down to the Southern tip of the main island of Taiwan. The Rukai refer to themselves as the People of the Cloud Leopard and  the Hundred Pacer.  They believe the Cloud Leopard and the Hundred Pacer to be the spirit of their ancestors. The Hundred Pacer is a poisonous viper found in the mountains of Taiwan and China. There are many legends based on this viper. What fun it is to explore their stories.

The Rukai are similar to the Paiwan in their social structure.  In the past the entire village centered around the Chieftain. Today only two classes are recognized. You are either a Chieftain or a commoner. In trying to fit in with the political climate of Taiwan, the authority of the chieftain has changed.  The chieftain’s status has greatly declined and most villages have their own village chief. The commoners still work the land and the nobility still share in the harvest. The nobility mainly are responsible for the maintaining of special traditions and ceremonies.  The Rukai love to celebrate! In a Rukai village everyone works and understands their place in the makeup of village life. This makes the village run smooth and peaceful.

Their are many honors given out in this tribe, but the highest is wearing a lily. A mature male that has proved himself as a hunter will be given a lily to wear. If you see a man with a lily, know he is honored in his tribe.  He is an outstanding hunter!  A woman who is chaste and a excellent keeper of her home is also given a lily. What a privilege! She is considered to be a woman of honor.

The women to this day are pronominal sewers, weavers, and embroiderers. They make some of the most beautiful clothing. First they weave the linen into cloth and then make it into a traditional dress. They are delightful to watch. Traditionally they used only linen for their garments. In recent years they have added cotton and wool. Their traditional dress has the most beautiful of embroidery on it. What a delight to see the work of these skilled women! These women are amazing!

When in Taiwan, be sure and spend the day with the Rukai Tribe. Celebrate with them! They love to sing and dance.  Enjoy their native dishes and delicacies. They are delicious!  Plan to spend some time and have dinner with the Rukai ….The people of the Cloud Leopard. Take time to discover the beautiful fabrics of the Rukai people. These weavers of linen are amazing!  For fascinating Rukai Legends, check out the site below.







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