Introduction



Taiwan, also known as Ilha Formosa (beautiful island in Portuguese), is a multi-ethnic society with a great diversity of cultural heritages, language abilities and religious practices. Before Han-Chinese immigrated from mainland China during the 17th Century, Taiwan was mainly inhabited by different indigenous peoples since 15,000 years ago. Today, the indigenous peoples number around 530,000 to 800,000 (accounting for about 2.3%-3.5% of Taiwan’s total population), and their languages belong to Austronesian language family – the widest spread language family worldwide. Taiwan is the origin of this language family, and it is considered as the homeland of the Austronesian languages. The dispersion of the Austronesian population into previously uninhabited Pacific islands started around 6,000 years ago. Therefore, all indigenous languages in Taiwan stand for the most time-honored heritage of the Austronesian language family passed down by oral traditions. For two decades, various indigenous groups have been stepping up the plate to engage in a cultural revival, sustaining heritages not only of tangible culture, but also of intangible culture such as languages, music, arts and craftsmanship.

On behalf of National Museum of Prehistory, Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, we will organize cultural workshops on Taiwan indigenous music performance, arts and handicrafts with the hope of sharing and promoting the diverse culture heritage of Taiwan in Matera from July 26th to 29th.