July 25, 2012

0289 TAIWAN - Saisiyat hunters and theirs formosan mountain dogs

About Taiwan (Formosa) I wrote here, and about Saisiyat tribe here. Of course that I didn't exhausted the two subjects, but neither I don't want to exaggerate with the details. Romanians say that "what is too much, spoils." I absolutely agree, but I also believe that "what is less, isn't enough".

The remarkable picture that I posted it above is part of the photos collection from National Geographic, taken about 1939 (i.e. during the Japanese occupation) by Japanese photographer Katsuyama, at Saisiyat tribe. Two things caught my attention since from the first glance: the diversity of the traits of the men, and the dogs. If I hadn't read that these people ready to hunt are from the same tribe, I would say that is a heterogeneous mixture of individuals not only from different ethnic groups, but from different races. In fact, as a Doubting Thomas that I'm, I'm still not convinced that all belong to the Sistiyat tribe. Given the origin of the photographer, and the period during which was taken the picture, may I not mistaken. And when I say "diversity", I don't mean the facial expression or the hairstyle, but the shape of the head and nose, and the facial bones.

Concerning the dogs in the image, seemed to me too small and too frail to participate in hunting in the wild forest. Here obviously I was wrong, because I found, studying the problem, that they belong of a indigenous race, used by the Aboriginal for hunting. Now, this breed, the Formosan Mountain Dog, descendant of the South Asian hunting dog called the Pariah Dog, is recognized with a pedigree from the Taiwan Kennel Club. Unfortunately, the introduction of the foreign dogs to Taiwan in the past (especially by the Dutch, Japanese and Americans) was a big threat to preserving the blood line of the Formosan, which is now very rare and in danger.

Formosans are classified into one medium type and two small types (with a maximum height of 52cm, and a maximum weight of 18kg), and have upright ears, almond eyes, triangular face, black nose, and a black coating on the tongue. Their color can range from black to earthy yellow or yellowish brown. In terms of temperament and behaviour, the Formosan is a high energy, loyal, affectionate, and intelligent breed.

The first two stamps, depicting Sun Moon Lake and Yushan (The Jade Mountain), are part of the series Travel in Taiwan, about which I wrote here.

The third stamp belongs to a second set of Taiwan Butterflies (first was issued in on June 25, 2009), issued on April 8, 2011, and consisting of 4 stamps (with a butterfly-shaped cutout on each stamp), depicting Euploea butterflies:
• Euploea eunice hobsoni (Butler) (NT$5)
• Euploea sylvester swinhoei Wallace & Moore (NT$5) - it's on the postcard
• Euploea tulliolus koxinga Fruhstorfer (NT$12)
• Euploea mulciber barsine Fruhstorfer (NT$12)

Formosan Mountain Dog – Wikipedia
Taiwan Butterflies Postage Stamps (Issue of 2011) – Stamp Treasure
Personal Greeting Stamps - Travel in Taiwan – Stamp Treasure

sender: Paoli Lee (direct swap)
sent from New Taipei City (Taiwan), on 08.03.2012
photo: Katsuyama

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