Ibis, Pavel. "Ekskursiia na Formozu" [Excursion to Formosa]. Morskoi sbornik 152, i (1876): neoffitsial'nyi otdel, 111-149; 152, ii (1876): neoffitsial'nyi otdel, pp. 111-141. Translated by Kirill Shklovsky. Edited by Douglas Fix.
Page 111 Excursion to Formosa
I. The Island of Formosa.
Arrival in Takao. — Geographical overview of the island. — Climate and its products. — Chinese possessions in Formosa. — Population. — Ports and trade. — Missionary activity.
The Japanese expedition to Formosa and the dispute between China and Japan that followed served to focus attention on this island. Knowing that its interior is still poorly studied, and especially so ethnographically, an idea came upon me to undertake a journey there, in order to acquaint myself with the life and disposition of the island's inhabitants. The opportunity to supply any new reports about them served to further strengthen my intent.
At the end of December, the corvette "Ascold" arrived in Hong-Kong, where a long stay awaited it. Here I laid my plans out to his Excellency Admiral Brummer, and asked him to dismiss me for the time necessary to conclude my plan. His Excellency, being sympathetic to my undertaking, freed me from my work obligations for two months and thus gave me an opportunity to travel through all of Formosa and make acquaintance with several native tribes never previously visited by Europeans.
I quickly made the preparations necessary for such a journey, and on the 28th of December left Hong-Kong on the Australian bark "Pelham." This bark was sailing for cargo to Takao (Такао), which for me was a good starting point. Between Hong-Kong and Formosa there is also a steamship run; two times a month a steamship sails from Hong-Kong page 112 to Tamsui (Тамсуй) and Takao, however at the time there was a long wait before the next run, and it was necessary to depart upon a sailing vessel. Then again, I did not save that much time this way—strong wind kept us in the vicinity of Hong-Kong for a long time, and only on the thirteenth day of the voyage did we arrive in Takao. Owing to the kindness of my Hong-Kong acquaintances, I had recommendation letters for the local missionaries and trade agents, to all of whom I am greatly indebted for their hospitality, much useful advice, and the heartfelt consideration they expressed toward my undertaking.
With an eye to the time I had available, I devised for myself the following plan: travel the entire island from south to north, visit the most native tribes possible, collect words from their languages, and carry out body measurements. In this way I hoped to arrive at better supported conclusions regarding the origin of the natives of Formosa, natives who, being fragmented into a myriad small and independent tribes, and living under specific local conditions, differ from each other in the nature of their [daily] life, language, and even external appearance.
Fulfilling this plan was, of course, more difficult than it initially seemed. It was necessary to travel everywhere by foot, since in Formosa there are no horses or mules, and the palanquins, besides being expensive, only travel the well-known, completely harmless roads. The cowardice of my Chinese kuli hindered me much as well. A chinaman will not dare to go into the highlander's territory for anything; the word "kale" (savage), to him, is a synonym for "death". These circumstances ruined my plan—to travel to the north on the east side of the island, where more supplies, and porters braver than Chinese would have been necessary.
I will try to report here everything I have seen, without expounding much upon my personal adventures; I will touch on those only where it becomes necessary for a better sketch of the local life.
But before commencing with my story, I will permit myself to make a brief geographical overview of Formosa.
Page 113 A high mountain chain, with peaks up to 12,000 feet, traverses almost the exact center of the island, and divides it into two halves that radically differ from each other. The east side, mountainous and wild, covered in splendid vegetation is inhabited by people of Malayan origin. The western part, a fertile plain, cultivated with rice, sugar, areca palms and other products of the tropical climate, is densely populated by Chinese. Parallel to the main range, on its west side, trail several relatively low [mountain] chains, rising up in terraces up to 3,000 feet; this wonderful locality is mainly inhabited by those natives who have already accepted Chinese civilization and rule.
The climate of Formosa is a tropical one, except its northern region which is under the direct influence of northeast monsoon,(1) which makes the winter cold and very rainy; there were times in Tamsui when they had not seen the sun for two or three months; clouds, rain, and fog succeed one another; the sun rarely peeks through; the mountains are always wrapped in leaden clouds, and a gloomy, severe shade covers the whole of that land. On the other hand, in the summer, good weather prevails here. In the rest of the island, below the 24th parallel, the northeast monsoon season is the best time of the year,—always cloudless skies, pure and clear air, warm days and magnificent nights. But in April, with the end of the monsoon, high heat sets in, which, with the dryness of the air and absence of wind is even more unbearable,—the earth and stones are baked, streams and waterfalls are dried up, the vegetation is scorched. May sees the return of the southwestern monsoon and with it rain that streams down almost daily in downpours until September. The rain peaks in June, then gradually subsides afterwards, ending completely with the beginning of the northeast monsoon. With the rain arrive mosquitoes, centipedes, and snakes, and fever rages in the woody seaside areas. In August all rivers overflow, and gorges and dales turn into lakes. Everywhere the water streams from the mountains; but page 114 after the rain it quickly takes on its usual calm nature. Thus, there are only two seasons in Southern Formosa: dry and rainy, conditioned by the two monsoons. In the north there are no such abrupt differentiations and the transitions from winter to
summer and from summer to winter are much more gradual.
The earthquakes are frequent in Formosa, but are not strong; they are limited to light jostles, occasionally accompanied by underground rumblings, and no one can remember them having destroyed anything. However, the wildly scattered, twisted and broken masses of mountains, immense blocks of coral, heaved out of the water to the height of several hundred feet—all attest to the strong volcanic forces which held sway over this island in the pre-historic era.
Many crops are cultivated on the island—sugar, rice, sweet potato, yam, ginger, millet, wheat, maize, pears and beans, sesamum, earth nuts, various greens, pineapple, bananas, mango, oranges and pomelos, anonas (аноны, or anoni(2)), lichee and lung-ngan (лунг-нганъ), papaya and areca palm, which grows especially luxuriantly in the central and southern part of the island. In the north, tea, indigo, and in some places tobacco and a species of fan palm (веерная пальма) are developed; areca occurs here seldom and grows poorly. I saw coconut palms only in Takao and Tai-van-fu (Тай‑ван‑фу) [and only] in gardens; they say that they rarely bear fruit.
The mountains of north Formosa are covered in massive forests of camphor trees and [other] good construction woods. Near Kilong (Килонгъ) there are coal and sulphur springs (sulphators); oil sources were recently discovered.
Page 115 The mountains are still not well explored; they consist of varieties of slate, rich in many minerals. The slate strata are angled mainly toward the east.
The Chinese holdings, which occupy western and northern Formosa are included in the Fu-Kien (Фу‑Киэнъ) province and are divided into the following five regions, starting from the north:
Tamsui with the main city of Tekcham (Текчамъ),
Chang-ua (Чанг-уа)____________Chang-ua ,
Ki-e-khien (Кi-е-хиэнъ)________Ka-gi (Ка-ги),
Fung-shan-khien (Фунг-шан-хиэнъ)_____Pital (Питай)
All these regions are governed by civil mandarins of the 3rd and 4th classes, who are under the rule of the vice-governor (in the rank of To-tai (То-тай)) in Tai-van-fu.
The data on the number of inhabitants of Formosa radically differs. According to Chinese censuses, the population exceeds 10 million (7,000,000 in the Tai-van-khien (Тай-ван-хиенъ)(3) region alone according to Customs Gazette). It is the opinion of General Le Gendre (former U.S. consul in Amoi (Амой)) that the population is no larger than 3 million, which seems more likely. The majority of the inhabitants are Chinese migrants from the province of Fu-Kien. There are relatively few natives; judging from the locales that I visited there are approximately 156 to 200 thousand to the entire island.
The coasts of Formosa are lacking in good ports. This is one reason why its interior is still so underutilized and trade is so insignificant.
Of the ports on the western seacoast, only Takao is navigable year-round, and even there only for vessels drawing no deeper than 14 feet. In Tai-van-fu the harbor is completely open, and safe anchorage is available only from December to March. The northern coast is somewhat better; there are two very satisfactory cargo loading areas, Tamsui and Kilong, but those as well are for smaller vessels. In Tamsui, there is 17 to 21 feet of water above the sandbar, when the tide is in, but strong waves often obstruct the crossing, even for vessels page116 that draw only 14 or 15 feet. On the other hand, the long and well-protected cove at Kilong is only deep enough for large vessels at its mouth.
These four ports were opened for foreign trade in 1858 with the Treaty of Tientsin. Commerce is mainly concentrated in Tamsui and Takao. Both of these ports have established customs offices. Branches are located, first in Kilong, and second in Tai-van-fu. Sugar is exported from Takao and Tai-van-fu, tea, camphor and coal from Tamsui, and coal from Kilong. The main imported good is opium. Almost the entirety of foreign trade is in the hands of Amoi trade houses, which have their agents in every port—out of six existing firms on the island only one, so far, is independent. With regard to trade in junks, its impossible to say anything definite for the Chinese shield any information about it from our eyes; it appears to be very lively and exceeds foreign trade. Overall, they say that in China, the profits from foreign trade in comparison with domestic are quite insubstantial. The junks transport sugar, rice, oil, camphor, indigo, fish, and wood from Formosa to the mainland while fulfilling the needs of the Chinese living in Formosa for items of domestic manufacture.
Missionary activity on Formosa is limited to the Chinese and the civilized natives. There are ten missionaries for the whole island—five are Presbyterians belonging to the "Medical Missionary Society", and five are Dominicans. Especially assiduous are the former. They already have about twenty outposts in various parts of the island and a significant number of parishioners. The preachers are chosen from among the Chinese, and truly are, for the most part, educated people: beside full knowledge of their own tongue they also must be able to read and write Latin, with which, the missionaries are attempting to replace the difficult Chinese letters. All prayer books, New Testaments, and Psalters are printed in Latin font, which is page 117 taught to children in schools established at all missionary outposts. This innovation is enjoying particular success with the Chinese-speaking Malayans who do not know Chinese characters.
All Catholic outposts are among the Malayans, who are generally more receptive to Christianity than the Chinese. A Chinaman is a materialist and does not worry too much about the delights of the afterlife; a missionary, in his eyes, is an idle human being who utters amusing and completely useless things—this is why there are few Christians among the Chinese.
II. Takao and Tang-Kang.
Takao harbor and city — Inhabitants — The sugar trade. — The Ape mountain — From Takao to Tang-Kang, Tang-Kang river; city and fort. — The murder of three Chinese soldiers on the road to Long-Kiau. — Chinese Christians.
Takao is a small city, and is important due to its small but wonderful harbor formed by an above-water coral reef that connects the mountains of Sadl’ (Садль) and Ape (Апэ), and separates a lagoon six miles in length and one mile in width from the sea. The entrance to the lagoon, located at its north end, is only at most 300 feet in width, which is why there are always strong tidal currents, jostles, and eddies here; only during times of full tide and wind change is an entry possible for a ship. In the lagoon itself it is always calm, despite the rough seas at anchorage. Unfortunately, with the exception of the northern part, the entire lagoon is strewn with coral reefs and is so shallow that it is accessible only by boats(4) and rafts. A small river empties into the lagoon's northern part—fresh water, which, of course, inhibited the formation of coral, and because of this there is a basin with a depth up to 9 sagenes(5), well protected by the Ape mountain from the western and northwestern winds (the local sea wind). The river deposits have covered the bottom [of the hollow] with fine silt and have formed a bar at the entrance with 11 feet of water [above it] at low tide. This basin is what in fact composes the harbor of Takao. Page 118 The vessels lying in it moor at the north shore, as the tightness of the harbor does not allow sitting at anchor.
The entrance to the harbor is being fortified by the Chinese government. Hundreds of soldiers are busy constructing a road to the mountain where a fort is planned. I was not able to see the plans for the fort, and am also unable to tell whether it will be stone or simply earthen, akin to those that fortify Pitai, Tang-Kang, and Long-Klau (Лонг-Кяу).
The town is situated on both sides of the entrance, the northern part populated by Europeans, the southern (reef) part, for the most part is populated by Chinese. European houses, as everywhere in the tropics, are of attractive style, surrounded by verandas and greenery, and are comfortably arranged. Only one building differs from all others in heavy, dark countenance, thick stone walls and gun embrasures under the roof—this is a remnant of the times of Dutch ownership on Formosa, currently functioning as a granary. The Chinese quarter, dirty and poor, is built improperly, and in general does not much resemble a city. There are no more than 2,000 inhabitants there.
There are, in total, about 25 Europeans in Takao and Tai-van-fu together. Many of them live alternately in Takao, and in Tai-van-fu, as the same people are in charge of the dealings of their firms in both ports. Only the missionaries, customs agents, and pilots have a constant residency.
In Takao there are six trade firms, in Tai-van-fu four. The trade turnover of the two ports reaches two and a half million taels.(6)
The main item of export is sugar, which is evident from the following numbers: the entire export for the year of 1872 was 1,252,391 taels, and from this 1,142,779 is due to sugar alone. The Chinese traders buy it piecemeal from small landowners and supply it in large quantities to the Europeans, who, though they make themselves dependent page 119 on the Chinese, are in turn rid of myriad petty hassles. There are good relations and mutual trust between the former and the latter, without any signatures or obligations, and there have not been any instances, they say, of a Chinese deliberately breaking a completed agreement. Many of the Chinese are already in competition with the Europeans and are chartering ships independently. While, so far this has not significantly affected the foreign trade, the increase of Chinese commercial steam-navigation may undermine it once and for all.
In the winter, that is from December to April, at the height of the sugar harvest, the trade activity is the fiercest, but in the summer it is fairly quiet and the ships are few.
Sugar is exported from Formosa to England, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and lately especially much to Australia.
The main subject of import, into Takao as well as all other ports, is opium, the demand for which is very large; it may be said almost with certainty that one third of the Chinese population of Formosa smokes opium. Out of 1,016,453 taels—the value of all import into Takao and Tai-van-fu in 1872, 819,235 taels belongs to opium alone (mainly Benares).
Takao and Tai-van-fu are combined under joint customs governance, and all statistical figures are given for both together, although the trade turnover in Takao is significantly larger.
In the environs nearest to Takao the most interesting site is Ape mountain. This is a single mass of coral, raised out of the waters to the height of 1,110 feet, while the surrounding terrain is an alluvial flat. If one were to mentally fill out its [the mountain's] form, which undoubtedly suffered damage in the rise from the sea and from later earthquakes, the result would be a shape comparable to descriptions of atolls.
A tour of Ape is quite tiresome—sharp coral, fine dust, tall grass and prickly page 120 vegetation here and there slow down the progress dramatically, but the panorama from the top rewards one's labor. Besides, it is not necessary to travel especially high in order to have revealed in front of you a splendid and majestic view, encountered anywhere where the sea, mountains, luxurious flora and clear sky complement each other—views spanning a range from the images of the most severe and savage character to [that of] complete tranquility and harmony. Here the view is calmer—mountains, fade into the background and are visible in soft tones; the dale between them and the sea shore presents a row of green plantations and bamboo groves disappearing into blue distance; the foreground is enlivened by the town and the harbor. Especially strong was the contrast between the calm surface of the lagoon and the sea stirred by the northwestern breeze; heavy waves with white tops rolled upon the darkened sea and loudly shattered on the sheer cliffs; vessels at the anchorage swayed heavily; all along the spit(7) trailed a long line of white breakers, making a sharp contrast with pale sand, dark vegetation, and the light-green water under the shore; on the other side of the spit lay the lagoon—calm like a mirror—the town, the shores, and the sky reflected in it, and everything was bright and unendingly calm.
By the way, on the northeast shore of the lagoon, I noticed, a presence of sulfur; the water issuing out of the mountain in small streams has a strong sulfuric odor, and the shallow bottom of the lagoon is covered here with a bluish-black layer of soft silt having the same odor.
On Saturday, the 11th (23th)(8) of January I began my first excursion, the end goal of which was south Formosa and especially Long Kiau.
South Formosa, to this day, has had the worst sort of reputation. Its inhabitants, notorious as a warring, sly, and unmerciful people, occupied themselves, from the earliest times, with sea robbery; ships wrecked here were plundered and people seeking safety on the shores were mercilessly killed. No one hindered the pirates—the Chinese were too page 121 fearful of them, and in any case, did not see the need for involving themselves in their business, and the attempt of general Le Gendre a few years ago also did not enjoy much success. Only the decisive measures of the Japanese were able to put an end to the robbery, for it seems now, forever. According to the treaty concluded between the Japanese and Chinese the latter are responsible for all instances of sea robbery, and the natives themselves will not soon forget the cruel strike inflicted by the Japanese, as a result of which even the Chinese heartened up so much that they began peace negotiations, which, as it first seemed, promised good results. Long-Kiau and several other points on the west coast were occupied by Chinese garrisons; the natives did not stop them from building their fortifications, and trade relations developed between the former and the latter. The To-tai himself journeyed to Long-Kiau, in order to cement the friendship between Chinese and native [land]owners with gifts.
The road to Long-Kiau did not pose dangers to me, nonetheless I was obliged to pay two kuli to accompany me who did not completely believe the friendly intentions of the natives, even though they hoped that I would not expose myself to the risk of encountering them. One of my kuli spoke a little English and could serve me as a translator, and the other understood something in matters of cooking, which also came in quite useful.
With the dawn of 11th of January, I left Takao with the company of missionary R., who was proceeding to Tang-Kang for worship. A light boat with a high mat sail(9) ferried us across the lagoon; it then became necessary to cross, on foot the Sadl’ (Саддль or Saddl')(10) mountain (which is composed of coral, as Ape), via narrow trails between rice and sugar fields. Finally we came to a sandy desert, created by wide summer floods of the Tank-Kang river and crossed in many places by its branches. This part of the trip was especially tiresome. Our feet sank in the loose sand, the sun baked us, and the wind raised thick clouds of fine dust that permeated our clothes and covered us from head to toe. For the most part, it was necessary to page 122 cross the rivers upon the porters; rafts were available only in a few places. This desert is composed of river drift sand and trails for about forty miles from Tang-Kang toward NNO to the foothills of the mountains on both sides of the river; it is between 4 and 6 miles wide today, but grows every year as the river shallows. After a wearisome four-hour walk on the hot sand we arrived in Tang-Kang, where we stayed in a missionary house.
Tang-Kang lies at 22°28 north latitude, and 120°27'0 east longitude from Greenwich, at the mouth of the river of the same name. There are about 20,000 inhabitants—all are Chinese, among whom most (almost 3/4) are fishermen. Fish, the most important item of trade, is exported to Takao, Tai-van-fu, and Amoi; rice and sugar go to Amoi as well. The trade happens exclusively in the junks. The city, it would appear, is not rich; besides a couple of stone booths and shrines all houses are woven out of bamboo laths, both the walls and the floor, if there is one; only the roof is straw. This kind of construction is necessary because of the broad flood plain of the river that widens every year and carries away one row of houses after another.
The fort, built recently, is located about 1/2 mile outside of the city and corresponds to the style of all Chinese fortifications I have seen on Formosa. Usually they are square, each side no longer than 200 steps and are surrounded with one or two shallow moats. Bastions with embrasures protrude on all four sides from the corners. Earthen breastwork on the outside has an incline of about 70° and descends inside in several ledges. It is about 12 feet high, and its thickness near the base is up to 16 feet. The merlons(11) between loopholes(12) are occasionally brightly painted with arabesques, and the whole exterior of the fort is kept clean, having a somewhat dandyish look. The cabins for the sentry are placed on the breastwork; three to four are on each side. Across from the lone entrance, about ten sagenes from it, a stone wall is built, on the inner side of which a tiger is painted in bright colors—this is the seal page 123 of military fellowship. The inside of the fort is laid out in the following manner: the officer's barracks are placed directly across from the entrance, several small cannons are there as well; almost directly in the center there is a raised platform of several cubic sagenes, having the same height as the breastwork. On top of the platform is a bamboo sentry tower and a flagstaff. The rest of the space is occupied by the soldier's barracks, small earthen cabins, situated symmetrically and separated from one another. This kind of fort is designed for four weapons and a thousand people. The Tang-Kang fort is a double one, that is, its interior is divided in half by a wall, and between the halves there are no connections; each half has a separate garrison, its own mandarins, and own flag. It is 300 steps long and 180 steps wide.
After a lengthy walk in the town among the poverty, dirt, and stench, I returned to the missionary house glad to have evaded of the large gathering of the curious that accompanied me everywhere. R. greeted me with a tiding, which greatly worried the residents of Tang-Kang: rumors traveled here from the south that To-tai’s negotiations did not enjoy success, and the natives had killed three of his soldiers. The murder, committed during the day, on an open road near an inhabited locale surprised everyone with its daring. My kuli cowered in fear and almost went back to Takao; only shame and good pay served to keep them.
In the evening, there was worship in the local chapel, where almost all Christians congregated, all in all about 80 people. A Chinese man, still a young fellow, performed the service. As was evident from his lively gestures, he preached freely and with good sense. The overall impression that I carried away, however, did not correspond to my expectations and made me seriously doubt the sincerity of the faith of Chinese Christians. They fall to their knees, when appropriate, previously having tossed on the floor a straw pillow, they sing hymns in ear-splitting voices, but during the sermon they yawn and sleep; their singing is especially unpleasant, page 124 bereft of any melody. My cook turned out to be a proselyte; he was present at the service, did everything that others did, looked at the book, sang, and yawned with the others during the sermon. When later, in a frank chat, I asked him why he wants to convert to Christianity, [I] received the following candid explanation: "Why wouldn't I?" he said, "A christian's life is easy—if any misfortune happens to him—other Christians help him, he gets sick—the doctors give him medicine or treat him in a hospital for free, and moreover—eternal life and bliss after death."
III. From Tang-Kang to Hong-Kong
Chinese villages in South Formosa and village inhabitants — Village of Tek-a-ka. — Town of Pong-Liau and fishing rafts. — The region of natives. — The Chinese inhabitants in it. — The first encounter with natives in the village of Lam-sio. — Tribe Pilam. — The road from Lam-sio to village of Gong-Kong.
On Sunday, after dinner, I bid farewell to my kind host. R., who advised me, based on his own experiences, to especially eschew any encounters with the mandarins and not to tell anyone of my intention to visit the natives, if I did not wish to have mandarins hinder me; also, as a medic, he gave me several instructions with regards to keeping my good health in the feverish climate of Long-Kiau, and wished me success.
I thought to spend the night in Tek-a-ka (Тек-а-ка), the southernmost outpost of the medical mission. It is one of those charming villages with which the whole southern lowland part of Formosa is strewn, and which make this area one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Completely covered in shady groves of Herculean bamboo, with clean houses, surrounded by areca palms and bananas, these villages resemble more a grouping of cottages then dwellings of the working people. And the people here themselves are somehow happier, more content, more jolly than [those] in the towns; here you are not confronted with poverty and destitution, or insulted with rudeness and churlishness, but rather honesty and hospitality leave one with the most page 125 pleasant of recollections. These are not at all the same Chinese whom we encounter in open trade ports, where they have been infected with the mania to "make dollars," where sometimes the Europeans themselves call them to impudence by their haughty treatment, and whenever possible, worsen their [Chinese] already bad reputation with distorted facts and shallow observations. "We have broken them ourselves, we and our dollars," a respected European who has long lived in China told me in Takao, when I struck up a chat about the depravity of Shanghai and Hong-Kong Chinese. I did not believe him, but later became convinced about the fairness of this sharp observation, and shamed the prejudice and suspicion with which I treated the local village inhabitants. Everywhere I was greeted with unfeigned delight, and when departing, I could only pay back their hospitality with gifts—they would not take money under any circumstances. My belongings were always in the open, even when I left for several days at a time, with never an instance of a loss. But this was there where Europeans have not yet been.
It seemed as if they knew in Tek-a-ka that I intended to stay overnight there because the elders, priests, and some other representatives welcomed me at the gates, and led me to a missionary house where a supper awaited me. Gradually nearly the whole village assembled inside the house, and with curiosity examined me, my dress, and my things. The studies I sketched in Tang-Kang were very well liked and many asked me to take their portraits, to which I readily assented. On the whole, I spent a pleasant evening among these good-natured and hospitable folk, whose thoughtful behavior extended so far as to accompany me with candles when I went outside to breathe some fresh air under dark bamboo groves.
With the dawn of the 13th I proceeded further, having hired yet another kuli, as my own did not know the way ahead.
We crossed a beautiful enlivened locale. Work bustled everywhere — sugar cane was gathered, rice was planted, or a field was prepared for it; heavy carts slowly page 126 trailed along the road emitting a horrific squeal from un-oiled wheels. By 11 o'clock I arrived in Pong-liau (Понг-ляу) and stopped to breakfast and rest a little, which, however, I did not wholly achieve because the throng of the curious around me was enormous and I did not have the means to retire them.
Pong-liau (at the latitude of 22° 22' N) is a small foothill town of 5,000 inhabitants all of whom are occupied in fishing. Along the shore itself trails a row of sheds for salting and drying of fish, which is exported from here to Amoi and Tai-van-fu. Fishermen head out for their catch on bamboo rafts. Bamboo here, in Tang-Kang, is in innumerable quantity. These rafts are designed quite simply: bamboo logs, from 4 to 6 inches in thickness are tied together with cross beams so that all the thin ends, bent slightly upward compose the nose of the raft, while the thick ones—the stern. The resulting raft is a little concave. To both sides [they] attach retractable keels (leeboards) and rowlocks so high that it is possible to row while standing. A mast with a high mat sail is mounted at the forepart, while in the middle sometimes stands a tub for provisions and other items which they do not wish to get wet. A long bamboo staff is an indispensable accessory of the raft; it serves for pushing off in shallow waters. Another staff, shorter but more stout is used when it is necessary to dock at the shore across the breakers; it [the staff] is stuck into the gravel behind the stern so that the departing wave does not carry the raft back. They say that these rafts go far into the sea, and the Chinese run them fabulously. They are used all along the Formosa's west coast, where, because of [shallow] banks and reefs, boats are impractical.
In Pong-liau there is a garrison of 500 soldiers. Here, in actuality, the Chinese holdings end, and the mountainous region of the natives begins. Only along the shore is there scattered a few villages of Chinese fishermen; but these are brave hearts, who at the urge of necessity have resolved to make home near the dangerous savages and to seek their friendship. The savages actually do tolerate them; to them [the savages] they [the Chinese] are needed as suppliers of arms, clothes and page 127 various trinkets. Previously there was no rule over these villages and the inhabitants did not pay any tax; only after the Japanese expedition, when Chinese authority claimed its right over the entire southern Formosa, were the mandarins and garrisons sent there.
The first of these hamlets, Lam-sio with about 1,000 inhabitants, is located within 4 miles from Pong-liau. Five miles further south lies Pang-soa (Панг-соа) with 100 inhabitants, and a mile farther is Che-tong-ka (Че-тонг-ка) with 200 inhabitants, then Gong-Kong (Гонг‑Конгъ) or Gong-Kang (Гонг‑Кангъ) according to the local talk, with 1,500 inhabitants, at the longitude 22º 11'N and finally Long-kiau or Liang-kiau (Лянг-кяу), where [there are] several villages, having all together a population of around 10,000 people. All these villages have nothing pleasing to the eye, [for] they have not enough greenery, not enough shady bamboo, graceful palms, and bright-green bananas - the details so necessary to beautiful tropical landscapes. The mountains with their wild flora cast an even gloomier shade on them [the villages]. The villagers here, as everywhere in villages where the Europeans have not yet been, are good-natured, simple, and hospitable.
Leaving Pong-Liau I acceded to the appeals of my kuli and loaded my rifle and revolver. The road, or rather barely distinguishable trail, went along the very seashore shore through sand and boulders. The mountains crowded close and closer to the shore, and the place became more deserted and severe. At first, we encountered, in places, cultivated or abandoned fields or the ruins of derelict farms, but soon all traces of human hands disappeared.
After 1 1/2 hours I finally saw pitiful huts of the village of Lam-sio. The noon heat, fatigue, and thirst forced me to turn here.
On the market square bustled a colorful crowd-- chinamen and chinawomen, loudly discussing something; half-naked natives, armed with long knives, pikes, and rifles, and women with bright beads and flowers in their hair. "Kale!" shouted in fright my kuli, pointing to the savages, and my heart beat with joy—these were page 128 the actual natives of Formosa, Malayans, for whom I came here.
As I approached, women-natives scattered into huts, and the men hid behind the chinamen. However, the samshu (самшу) (Chinese rice vodka), gunpowder, and various trinkets attracted them little by little to me so that I was able to write down a few words of their language and even draw two or three people; the body measurements though, which it struck me to take, would not work -- I somehow measured the head of one [person] but the iron callipers had produced such horror in him that he ran away at the first opportune moment, and was not to be seen again.
I badly wanted to visit their village in the mountains, but none of the natives would agree to guide me, for it was necessary to first inform the taurang (таурангъ) (overseer), and report what kind of gifts I have for him, and then, if he agreed to see me, they would guide me. These preparations, however, would take at least three days, and as the village was far, to tarry for such a time in idleness seemed to me too long, more so that it was still uncertain that the taurang would see me; the Chinese to whom I turned only laughed and suggestively drew their hands across their necks.
These natives belonged to a powerful Pilam (Пиламъ) tribe whose territory bordered Chinese holdings at the north, and reached, as was said, the shore of the Pacific ocean to the east. It was also said that they [the tribe] have several large villages in the mountains and some fertile valleys. The Chinese had already reached for a long time, but had always been repelled; the last of these ill-fated attempts was, they say, in the year of 1870.
The Pilam tribe are of medium height and stout build, with well-developed muscles. The color of their skin is light bronze. The form of the head and type of face is Malayan: the forehead is straight, not high; cheek-bones are prominent and the jaw is especially wide; the eyes are set straight and are deep enough, but are somewhat narrow, and are not completely pure brown in color; page 129 the gaze is expressive; the nose is wide, a little flattened, occasionally with a small hump, and the nostrils are a bit upturned; the mouth is wide, lips are meaty but are lovely and expressively contoured; the ears are small, but the lobes are extremely widened by the inserted round porcelain pieces, oftentimes more than an inch in diameter; the hair is black, with a brown tint, straight and coarse; the beard is extremely sparse; brows are pretty, but rarely are thick The appearance of the whole physiognomy is thoughtful, serious, often wistful, and even somber. The women too, relatively speaking, are of medium height, but are unattractive: the lines of their faces are quite incorrect, the neck is short, and shoulders are too high for a woman; the bust and pelvis, though, are well formed.
The men's clothes are like the following: the hips are tightly wound with a blue scarf which is bound with a colorful belt at the waist. Some, predominantly old men, are content with this; others also wear a short jacket of light, blue material, trimmed with red and yellow laces, and fastened with round copper buttons. The hair, coated with some kind of thick grease and plaited in places with red threads, is wound around the head, and tied with a narrow blue scarf; a part of it is loosed on the forehead and is cut a little above the brow line. Copper bracelets are worn around the arms and porcelain in the ears, with the outside painted in red and blue motifs of Chinese manufacture. With Pilam, as with every tribe further south, I did not see any tattoos.
The women whom I saw here were all dressed like Chinese women, in wide white pants and blue blouses with short sleeves, cut along the sides. The hair, smoothly combed and tied at the back, was ornamented with rows of red ribbons and large yellow beads which encircled the entire head. They had up to ten or more wire bracelets on their arms and numerous rings on their fingers.
Page 130 The armaments of Pilam comprise the following: a straight knife of two feet in length, with a wooden handle; a pike, composed of bamboo staff of 10 [feet?] in length and attached sharp knife of 6 or 8 inches in length; a simple bow of hard wood with leather string and bamboo arrows with iron (unpoisoned) heads; and finally a matchlock rifle, the barrel of which is four feet, and the stock is only one foot. The rounds, composed of coarse Chinese gunpowder and pieces of tin, are packed in bamboo shells, which are carried in a net on the back. The wick is wound around the body, while a small horn with fine gun-powder for the flash pan hangs from the neck. With the sole exception of the bows, all of these armaments are purchased from the Chinese, who are armed with the same. The dress and various trimmings are also traded from the Chinese for furs, venison, earth nuts, etc., and Chinese specially prepare items which meet the needs of the natives.
It was already going on five o'clock when I proceeded further. Along the road we met armed Chinese, about 20-30 people all together, who expressed their surprise that there were only four of us. The Chinese travel this road all the way to Long-Kiau only in substantial throngs, and always armed. With the darkness I arrived in Che-tong-ka, where I situated myself in the house belonging to, from all appearances, a wealthy Chinese. From him I found out that the natives who inhabit the nearby mountains are called Toa-ku-boon (Тоа‑ку‑бунъ) and sometimes descend into the village for barter trade.
Upon the next morning (14th Jan.) five Chinese joined me. They wanted to reach Gong-Kong, but did not dare to go on their own. Along the way they, from what little I understood, were telling various horrors about the natives, which, apparently frightened my kuli, as they suddenly started to assure me that it was much better to go from Gong-Kong to Long-Kiau via the sea rather than the shore, with which I, however, did not agree. Half-way we met a mandarin in a palanquin surrounded by about seventy soldiers armed with long pikes, pitchforks, and other primordial page 131 weaponry; it is not surprising that with such arming of the troops, the Chinese government is incapable of dealing with brave highlanders.
In Gong-Kong the locale is less severe than the one we had just passed; the mountains there rise directly from the sea in steep cliffs, retreat here a bit back and form a small dale, which is cultivated with sweet potato and rice, and is irrigated with a water from a mountain stream, emptying into the sea.
At the time of the Japanese expedition, a small Japanese regiment was stationed in Gong-Kong. Straw barracks, where they had lived, are occupied now by the Chinese garrison—an undisciplined and poorly-armed mob.
IV. Saprek Tribe.
The encounter with natives of Saprek Tribe. — The road into their territory. — The arrival in the Saprek village. — Taurang’s reception. — The evening spent among the natives, Return to Gong-Kong. —Saprek tribe: external appearance, temperament, and attire. Village and huts. Occupation of Saprek, their intellectual development, morals, and social order. Trade.
In Gong-Kong I again encountered natives, who, having finished their trade, were preparing to return to the mountains. They belonged to the tribe of Saprek (Сапрэкъ) that lived in the mountains northeast of Gong-Kong. The Chinese speak of them as of good-natured and peaceful people and are in good relations with them.
Treating them to vodka and pork, their beloved delicacy, I got on with them so well that after some hesitation they agreed to take me along, under the condition that I would have a decent present for the taurang and vodka for the entire village. I agreed, of course, and at noon we left Gong-Kong. With me I had only one translator and [some] necessary things.
We had passed but a mile, and virginal nature already surrounded us. Mountains and river shores along which we walked were covered with dense forest, fantastically entwined with mighty lianas and tied by them into a single unbroken mass. Page 132 Silence reigned around us, occasionally interrupted by a sharp cry of some unknown bird or the monotone sound of a far-away cascade. Wordlessly we walked one after the other along a narrow trail, sometimes weaving along the shores of a clear river, sometimes along dark forest. About two hours later my companions stopped. One of them produced a long, sharp whistle, which was joined by remote voices. Then a crackle of dry boughs, the noise of bushes being parted, and several women's voices could be heard, finally the bushes opened and let several young women through; these were the wives of my companions, who had waited here for the return of their husbands. Having spied with them a completely unknown, armed man, they stopped in bewilderment, and several hid back in the bushes, but when their husbands calmed them down, they joined us without fear, and several were coyly fixing up their disheveled dress.
Having given a part of their load to the women, and having themselves refreshed with several gulps of samshu, my friends gave the signal for departure. The trail now went directly up the mountain, and so steeply that in places it was necessary to scramble using hands and feet. I was sweating buckets, and the splendid views of nature and my romantic disposition lost all their charm for me — I only envied my companions, who, with heavy burden on their backs, walked freely and lightly, as if upon a flat field, and only chuckled when I, panting, stopped in order to catch my breath. My translator suffered, by the way, no less then I did. In this way we climbed to over 1 1/2 thousand feet, and crossed over the ridge.
Below us now lay a valley—narrow, wild, and dead-calm. Dark mountains on the other side were wrapped in heavy clouds, everywhere was forest: unending and somber, only the rivulet, winding in a thin ribbon upon the valley sparkled in bright silvery light, and thus made everything around seem all the more dismal. Page 133 Young Malayan Karanbau (Каранбау), more affectionate to me than the others, stopped here for a minute, and having encircled the entire valley with his hand, pronounced with pride, "Saprek!" Then, pointing to the next mountain chain, he named for me the name of the neighboring tribe—Bootang (Боотангъ), which is regarded as the most powerful in South Formosa.
Having gradually descended about 500 feet we followed the road along the mountain incline, almost in the horizontal direction. Finally, a remote dog bark resounded, the forest began to thin out, and after a quarter of an hour we saw in front of us straw huts, scattered along a steep incline of the mountain in short distance from each other. This was the village Saprek.
My companions stopped before entering the village. One of them stuck a bamboo staff into the ground about thirty steps from me, and Karanbau invited me to shoot at it. With them, as with all highlanders of Formosa, there is a custom that forces every stranger to shoot at a target before entering a village. This is more, it seems to me, to make certain of his hunting dexterity, highly valued by them, than in order to unload his weapon. I hit the mark, and natives, satisfied with this, with a certain air of victory led me into the courtyard of the first hut, where they asked me to sit down and wait the arrival of the taurang. Themselves, they sat in silence around me, while the women, having poured the vodka from [my] bottles into large gourd vessels, disappeared inside the hut.
The taurang entered, a man still in his middle years, of fairly plain appearance, but with unbelievably important airs. In front of him went a boy, holding above the head an arrow in a wide leather quiver painted in bright colors—a sign I encountered by me in the audiences of Chinese mandarins as well (its picture—a dragon on orange background). The taurang cast a careless gaze over the entire assembly and silently sat himself down on a bench prepared for him. The youngster,(13) having laid the arrow at his feet and modestly removed himself to the side. Page 134 No one moved, no one said a word; all sat contorted, hugging their knees with their hands; their faces expressed deep thoughtfulness and understanding of the importance of the situation. I almost burst into laughter at the sight of such ceremony, but at the same time felt myself in quite an awkward situation: While understanding perfectly that I was the main actor here and that everyone was waiting on me for the start of the ceremony, I at the same time did not know how and with what to begin without breaking the etiquette. The longer I tarried, the more grave became the taurang's face. Karanbau who sat next to me, finally led me out of the predicament: as someone who spoke a little Chinese, he whispered into my translator's ear that it was time to offer the taurang the kamshu (камшу) (present). Then I removed from my bag a yellow silk scarf, metal chain, and several rows of artificial pearls and laid these riches on his knees. He with dignity accepted and with the same dignity laid them aside. A strange scene followed: The taurang having expressed his desire to be my brother, raised himself, laid his left arm on my right shoulder and gestured for me to do the same. I was handed a cup of samshu that I offered to the taurang. He accepted it with a ceremonious bow and having quaffed one swallow gave it to me; I drank in the same manner and gave it back to him, and so three times.; then the arms were lowered and we were brothers. With the end of this ceremony, performed in the strict silence of all assembled, a public feast began. The full cup made constant rounds; all drank with pleasure, including the taurang himself, and the noisy conversations and loud laughter soon started. The weak vodka acted quickly on my esteemed brother—little by little he forgot all his importance, became chatty to the point of impropriety, haw-hawed, waved his arms, and when he left, he swayed strongly. [They] carried the vessels with vodka behind him, and the crowd broke up; Only Karanbau, in whose hut I was, remained with me.
With the twilight, the youngster with the arrow came again, and having announced that the taurang wished to see his brother, led us into his tapâu (тапау) (house), located in the middle page 135 of the village and distinguished from others only in that it was slightly larger and more meticulously built. At the doorstep the owner himself awaited me, clothed, it appeared, in full dress. On him were two cloth jackets — below a red one, trimmed with yellow laces, and on top the blue one with red cuffs and [red] breast, adorned with sewing of the same color and with several rows of Japanese silver ten-cent coins. On him instead of pants, were two black aprons that were trimmed in multi-color laces and that reached only halfway [down] his tanned haunches. On his neck sat beads large and small; his hair was kept by ribbons, beads, bells, and the chain I gave him. On the arms were bracelets and round pieces of mirror glass glimmered in his ears. His wife and pretty daughters were dressed no less festively, especially the latter. Awkward Chinawomen's dress, which they adopted with certain modifications sat on them exceedingly deftly and superbly described their full forms; their hair was lightly tied at the back of the head and coquettishly wound with narrow striped scarves. The choice of colors and restraint in ornament bore witness to refined taste and an ability to dress attractively and simply, without hiding or losing any of their natural charms. Besides the white porcelain in the ears and metal bracelets, they did not have any adornments.
In the courtyard of the hut there were several picturesque groups of young men and women, gaily chatting amongst themselves. With my approach the conversations died down and all eyes were aimed at the never before seen foreigner. The taurang received me as important personae which are commonly received in front of a crowd—kindly and convivially, but with awareness of one's own worth and high position.
After the first greetings he ceremoniously invited me into the tapau where already seated was an important group, consisting primarily of respected-looking elders; [the taurang] just as ceremoniously offered me a pipe stuffed by his own hand, page 136 which I did not dare to refuse, even though I knew that the tobacco was not among the best. [The taurang] then addressed the assembled group with a long speech, at the end of which all expressed a wish to drink with me, turning to me as well with lengthy monologues. When everything quieted down, the owner offered to move to the rear half of the house, a cozy area, pleasingly lit by a bright hearth fire. On the floor, on boards, a table was set, filled with Chinese tableware and various dishes; around the table were stools about three inches in height; only two of them were higher—for the taurang and for me. The taurang sat me down next to himself, after which the other men took their places. When everyone was poured vodka, the man of the house(14) stood up with his cup, and sprinkling vodka around, mumbled something—probably an incantation against evil spirits, as they do not believe in good ones. The same was done with the rice. In addition, before drinking, each lowered their finger into the cup, and dripped the liquid on the floor. The mistress herself and her coquettish daughters served the table. The attention of the guests was turned to me; no one ate, but only drank, and all attended to me. The fare was in fact not bad; they served rice, fish, venison in various forms, beans and diverse greens, sweet potato, yams, fried nuts, and finally a hot beverage under the Chinese name of "te" (тэ) (the(15)-tea in the Fu-kien dialect), which in actuality is nothing but water from boiling potatoes. As soon as I got up from the table, the rest of the assemblage began to eat with an enviable appetite; I myself was served warm water for mouth rinsing and hand washing, and [they] brought in a pipe, which I precluded with a cigar.
After dinner in came the young people who heretofore had crowded in front of the hut. [They] brought out the remaining vodka and a communal drinking-bout began, in which everybody except the women took an active part. The liquor enlivened everyone and gradually eliminated the courtly etiquette strictly adhered to in the beginning; after that there was no taurang, no page 137 respected elders or modest young people, rather there were only drunks. The evening ended noisily, but without any unpleasantness; evidently, Saprek know how to drink.
The next morning I spent doing my usual business, i.e., I looked over the village and huts, drew, asked the villagers about various varieties, wrote down the words of their dialect, etc. When after dinner I parted with the hospitable taurang and his lovely family, I was given a chunk of splendid venison and a sack of earth nuts. Not wanting to let them down with a refusal, I accepted these inconvenient gifts and answered them with others, mainly gunpowder, shot, and bullets, which they badly needed.
Karanbau and several other young people accompanied me to Gong-Kong and they remained my guests that evening. The good.Karanbau almost cried when I said my good-byes the next morning; he simple-heartedly tried to persuade me to return and to remain with them, promising to continually feed [me] with pork.
Of all the native tribes I visited on Formosa, I liked the Saprek tribe the most. These people are good and simple-hearted, with an honest, open nature. Having few necessities, easily satisfied with light labour and in part by nature itself, they lead a free and worriless life and, it appears, are completely happy and satisfied with their condition. This contentment, reflected together with other good qualities in their open attitude, lends them that charisma which sometimes unwittingly draws us to people and instills trust in them without regard to their uncomely, perhaps, exterior. Though, the Sapreks cannot be called unattractive. They are, it is true, of low height, but are shaped well. The facial features, of most, are large and incorrect, but their calm, intelligent, and reserved expression ennobles them. Their skin is of dark but clean bronze color. They dress neatly and beautifully; they prefer bright colors, especially yellow, page 138 and red—the preferred colors, it seems, of the whole Malayan tribe. Special attention is given to the headdress, which varies greatly; the majority of women have somewhat cropped hair that is tied with a narrow scarf, laces, yellow beads, or wreaths made from yellow flowers, and chains. They, it would seem, are very fond of their armaments—their rifles are always meticulously clean; the handles of the knives, scabbards, and quivers are crafted with taste and are always decorated with coarse Chinese arabesques.
The women of this tribe are well formed, and pretty faces are encountered not infrequently among them. The cheerful, playful countenance, sly gaze, and the naive coquetry, apparent in their costume and in all their movements, shows that they are not at all indifferent to their advantages and know their worth perfectly well. Their position is not the easiest—on them lie all the domestic responsibilities, the cultivation of vegetable gardens and childcare, while the men are only occupied with hunting and trade. But the men treat them affectionately, and do not place their wives on the level of slaves, as often happens with wild and half-wild peoples.
The village of the Saprek consists of fifteen to twenty huts located on footpaths about fifteen sagenes. The forest around the village is burned down, with the exception of a small plot at the very summit of the mountain, where, as was explained to me, everyone hides in the case of enemy attack. The huts are built of straw on bamboo foundations and are fastened outside with bamboo staves. The front facade is open, and only its upper part is covered with a steep roof that descends as an canopy, forming a wide and low entrance. The interior of the hut is divided with a partition into two halves: the front light room is used during the day; sometimes a corner for the pigs is divided off. In the rear, dark room they sit in the evenings and sleep in the cold time of the year. On the walls of the hut hangs various dishware and weaponry on deer page 139 antlers. A storeroom and pig sty, used as a lavatory as well, is located near the living hut.
The house utensils, such as cups, kettles, cauldrons, pans, etc, are bought from the Chinese; of their own manufacture are only baskets, mats for sleeping, stools, serving in place of pillows as well, and various gourd vessels.
The only domesticated animals—cat, dog, and pig.
Venison, which they can superbly preserve, sweet potato, and rice mainly comprise their diet. I was unable to discover why they bear revulsion to fowl and eggs. Beside the Chinese samshu, they also make from millet an intoxicating beverage of quite a pleasant taste, called, as all vodka vava (вава) (wawa(16)). Tobacco and betel are in high use with men as well as women.
The nature of their occupations the Saprek can be placed between hunters and agrarians; together with hunting they engage in a little field work and thus live a settled life. But the intellectual development and societal life place them in the rank of primitive people. They can count only to ten. The have neither writing system nor definite religion, and because of this they have no shrines, no idols or amulets, and no priests and no magicians. They suppose only the existence of evil spirits, who attempt to hinder a man in all his endeavors, and thus they explain all failures and misfortune. The cult of these spirits is limited to small sacrifices of viands and wine.
From their early years, the sons accompany their fathers on hunts and the daughters help their mothers with housework. When they attain sexual maturity a young person marries. If his parents are alive, the father finds him a bride and pays a certain payment to her parents—usually in fabrics or provisions. In case of indigence, the groom enters in the service of his father-in-law. The marriage ceremony, as all other celebrations in life, is accompanied page 140 by public drinking and a feast. Having many children in marriage is the parents' greatest pride, which is why they are quite attached and are affectionate to their younguns. The eldest child in the family is the head and enjoys respect from the younger ones. Women, though not encumbered by strict taboos, are nonetheless prevented from participating in activities outside their spheres. The dead, they simply inter near the hut, without leaving any kind of memorial at the grave.
The civic life is just as simple. The taurang, as the head of the tribe, enjoys the respect of everyone but does not receive any extra income. His power, it seems, is not great, and more likely nominal rather than actual; I cannot say with certainty whether it is given by voting or by inheritance—the latter, it seems to me, is more probable. In important situations, the elders of the families assemble at the taurang's and discuss the common business.
Their trade with Chinese is an exchange trade—they do not know the value of money. The items of trade from one side: skins, venison, game, deer antlers, wood, wood coal, and ginger in small quantity; from the other side: weapons and ammunition, fabrics, vessels, various ornaments, rice, fish, samshu, tobacco, betel, etc.
The locale between Gong-Kong and Long-Kiau. — Encounter with natives of Kvaian tribe. —Arrival in Long-Kiau. — South end of Formosa. — Chinese quarter and region of the natives. —Natives of this region. — Sea banditry. — General Le Geandre and taurang Tokhutok. — Expedition of the Japanese to Formosa and its consequences. — The latest news in South Formosa.
The distance from Gong-Kong to Long-Kiau is only about ten miles, but it is a good four-hour walk, as the road travels in places through precipitous mountains of significant height.
Page 141 The mountains here, and along this entire coast are composed of light(17) sandstone, the strata of which slope to the east at an angle of 20º to 30º. Between the mountains and the seashore there are, in places, terraces, 50 feet and more above the sea and up to half a mile in width. On them, various shells and large hunks of white coral are found which under no circumstance could be expelled from the sea, from which it may be concluded that this entire shore is either raised or is still rising even now; the latter is supported by several rows of cobble-stone located along the shoreline, already partially covered with shrubbery. In Long-Kiau itself, there are also several coral mountains ascending to 300 feet (from my estimate). The environment here is just as wild as further north, the same dark mountains and gorges, the same impassable thicket. Half-way there is an abandoned Chinese farm, the former owner of which now lives in Gong-Kong. He, they say, long held fast there, despite the oft-repeated raids of unfriendly highlanders, but finally an attack that deprived him of all his property forced him to abandon this place. In two or three places, near the shore, the ruins of low stone huts are still visible, built in all probability by Chinese sailors who strayed here for cutting wood and burning coal. That is all that reminds one of human activity here.
About four miles from Gong-Kong I suddenly encountered several natives from the Kvaian (Кваянъ) or Kay-uan (Кай‑уанъ) tribe, dirty, poorly dressed and very suspicious-looking lads, who according to the suppositions of my kuli, undoubtedly were going to shoot us. [The kuli] consequently tossed off the things they were carrying and turned to run; but my resolute threat with the revolver stopped them and returned them to me. The savages looked on this scene in bewilderment and were at a complete loss when I, having approached the nearest one of them, took the burning wick from his hands and lit my cigarette with it.(18) Though, I did not at all feel myself in a joking mood; their dirty page 142 repulsive physiognomies did nothing to inspire trust. Besides, they could not have known whether I was an enemy or not after all, more so because I traveled with the Chinese, their direct enemies. But this mutual tension gradually subsided, especially when I, in order to better prove my peaceful tendencies, put my tobacco into circulation. It ended with me drawing one of the characters, and I even began to measure him, but the plucky callipers ruined the whole business again.
Only in Tsui-Kin (Тсуй-Kинъ), the first village of Long-Kiau's valley, did I encounter Chinese again, who took me for a Japanese and with surprise exclaimed—Dzhipun! (Джипунъ) Dzhipun! Also in Long-Kiau itself, where the majority of inhabitants have not seen other foreigners, I passed everywhere for Japanese, as [I did] before for a missionary or an English consul; who Russians are, what the difference is between them and the English—no one knew, not even the mandarins; in their mind all Europeans comprise one nation that speaks one language—English. As a Dzhipun, though, I was safe among the natives, who remember well that to offend a Japanese person is a sorry stunt, thus this condition favored me.
And so on 16 (28) of January, on the sixth day from departure from Takao I arrived in Long-Kiau. The newly acquired historical renown of this area, and the convenience to undertake excursions to various native tribes from here forced me to set up here longer than anywhere else.
The last ten miles of the southern end of Formosa differ somewhat from the directly adjacent country. There we saw a severe environment, exclusively mountainous, woody and wild; but here again we encounter, next to the mountainous region of the natives, a fertile lowland, occupied exclusively by Chinese.
This lowland, which I termed above "Long-Kiau's valley", in width occupies the western third of the island and spans from the north towards the south about eight miles. From the seaside page 143 it is protected by a low flat range that follows the entire western shore from Long-Kiau to the southwestern cape. Irrigated by streams that benefit the cultivation of rice, all of it is occupied by fields and relatively prosperous villages, of which Long-Kiau may be called a small town. According to official sources, there are up to 10,000 Chinese here, and the garrison consists of 2,000 persons.
The region of the natives for the most part is not of severe character. Excluding the northern and part of the eastern shore, which are covered in continuous forest, the vegetation here is fairly meager, especially in the southern part; the mountain tops for the most part are naked or are scantily grown over with wild shore palms with scaly trunks and double-feathered prickly leaves; the shrubs are found in clumps in the lowlands and the damp gorges. Cultivated valleys and flatlands and prettily situated native villages are found often between the gently-sloping mountains.
Here, on some 100 square miles, live eighteen tribes, all more or less independent and minute to such a degree that many of them comprise only 60 to 70 people. According to General Le Geandre's data, they compose a federation among themselves, with Tokhutok (Тохутокъ) (or Totetok (Токетокъ)), the taurang of the Tuasok (Туасокъ) tribe, being considered the head, but who nonetheless enjoys little power over his compatriots.
As a result of advantageous local conditions, the majority of these tribes have already emerged from primitive lifestyle. They engage in agriculture and animal husbandry and cultivate their fields according to the Chinese method, and the hunting is a de-emphasized occupation. In their culture, as in intellectual development and the style of living, the Chinese influence is discernable. Some even tolerate Chinese [people] in their environment, but evidently are not united with them in blood. Yet other tribes, occupying land not conducive to field labor, remain hunters and are not removed from primitive existence. They, it is true, remain in trade relations with other tribes, who supply them with everything necessary page 144 secondhand, but they themselves rarely leave the native forests, as if afraid to lose their independence through encounters with more developed peoples. The necessity to defend their homeland and freedom against a constant pressure from the Chinese caused by the shortage of land for such a dense population in western Formosa has caused them [the natives] to further withdraw from all others, and has made them secretive and suspicious, even toward other native tribes. Some, such as the Bootang, are completely holed up in their unapproachable mountains, and with robbery and murders have acquired such a horrific reputation that their name alone causes a Chinaman to turn pale. But at least as far as I saw, the main aspects of character in this, as well as other native tribes on Formosa are positive. They, it is true, are hot-tempered, irritable, and vindictive if their sensitive self-pride is offended, but nonetheless they are good-hearted, hospitable, and honest, at least, in regular human relations.
Frequent shipwrecks at the southern shores of Formosa have gave rise to sea robbery here and the Formosan pirates were known everywhere as the bravest and most merciless. But the piracy here was limited to attacks on ships that were cast ashore and those sheltered near it, and never reached the level of development and necessary organization as in the Sunda archipelago. The first step toward ending it [the piracy] was made by General Le Geandre: he entered into relations with the taurang Tokhutok, and partly with threats, partly with promises, made the taurang give his word not to allow murders and robbery of the wrecked, but rather to give them the necessary aid and protection. Under this agreement the Chinese were pledging to build a fort on the southwestern cape for the supervision of the natives. But it was not prudent to count on Tokhutok,—it may well be that he did try to honestly fulfill his promises, but, as a taurang of one of the weakest tribes, he did not have the influence over his compatriots, for when a few years later a Japanese vessel from the Lu-chu (Лу-чу) islands crashed at the southern shore, it was plundered and the crew page 145 of 54 people was butchered. The main instigators of this butchery were from Bootang and Kuarut (Куарутъ) tribes.
This incident gave grounds for the last Japanese expedition to Formosa.
The news of the fate of Lu-Chuens were received across all of Japan as a flagrant insult to the nation, necessitating an assured punishment. The government eagerly sympathized with the popular mood and decided to act accordingly, more so because even those involved in politics were disposed in that direction. But before undertaking anything decisive, the Japanese government addressed the Pekin court as the nominal power in all of Formosa, demanding from it satisfaction for the murders of its citizens. The Chinese, however, cast aside any responsibility, having declared that they do not enjoy authority over the natives of southern Formosa, and that because of this the Japanese had the full right to punish them as they saw fit. The Japanese could not hope for better. This kind of answer not only insured them against Chinese interference, but also in giving them full right to deal with pirates as they saw fit, inspired hopes for a final appropriation of the land they inhabited. The preparations for the expedition were made thoughtfully and quickly, and with the pacification of the revolt in Saga (Сага), the Fomosa campaign began.
I collected the details about the course of the expedition partly from various Japanese and Chinese newspapers, partly from eyewitness accounts.
In the middle of May of 1874 the Japanese forces, under the command of General Saigo (Сайго) landed in Long-Kiau and set-up a camp. The Chinese population was delighted, foreseeing a profitable sale of their provisions; the natives, knowing full well what was happening, assumed a direct war stance, and themselves gave grounds for open hostilities through the murders of several Japanese soldiers who carelessly wandered from their camp. This happened in the evening of 22nd of May (3rd of June). The next day, General Saigo sent a detachment into the mountains which having page 146 destroyed a native village and having wiped out the majority of its male population, returned that same day with insignificant losses.
This decisive act and new experience of domination over self, this example of horrible, but deserved punishment, gave the natives a true notion of the Japanese; they saw that these were not Chinese, whom it was possible to murder in dozens with impunity, but rather powerful people, superior to themselves. For this reason many tribes laid down their weapons and gave themselves up to the Japanese of their own free will; only Bootang, Kuarut, and Kuskut (Кускутъ) remained at war as before.
Desiring to render them powerless with one decisive strike, Saigo now directed his entire force at the Bootangs, as the most dominant and intractable of his enemies. On the 13th of June the Japanese force, divided into three detachments, entered the enemy territory from different sides. Clashing with no more than 5-600 poorly armed savages, the Japanese did not meet with a strong resistance, but nonetheless their situation was sometimes fairly taxing—the local conditions were against them. The heavy rain that held sway this time of the year, the river floods and their strong currents, the lack of roads, and finally lack of knowledge of the severe environment brought with them many privations and unforeseen obstacles. Also the constant dampness, strong heat, and arduous work badly influenced the health of the troops, and many got ill with the fever.
The highlanders had all the advantages on their side. Avoiding, for the most part, open battle, too uneven for them, they shot at Japanese unpunished from the unapproachable cliffs and harassed them with unexpected raids and ambushes. But the Japanese losses were not large; the number killed during the entire campaign did not exceed twenty men, even though there were many wounded.
Page 147 The villages of the natives were empty; all inhabitants were in hiding in the forest, where it was futile to pursue them, and the Japanese burned and demolished everything they could find.
Seeing the irrepressible Japanese force and their own large losses, the natives lost heart; the end of the expedition was in sight. The taurang Arok (Арок) was killed and many others died from Japanese weapons; hunger and lack of combat supplies would have forced the natives to finally surrender. But here Saigo received from Eddo (Еддо) an edict to cease military actions during negotiations with the Chinese government, and his force returned to Long-Kiau without finishing its business.
The influence of the Chinese and the dual role they play in Formosan business are not easily explained; it is probable that seeing the unanticipated success of the Japanese and the vigor of their actions, they foresaw the end—the formation of a Japanese colony on Formosa, something they did not want to happen. But be that as it may, the military campaign on Formosa ceased, and then began the diplomatic debates which were becoming more and more complex and even threatened a final break between the two Empires, but that ended, as is known, in October 1874 with a peaceful Pekin treaty.
According to the treaty, the Chinese pledged to pay the Japanese 500,000 taels in satisfaction, partly to the families of Lu-Chuens killed by the Formosa pirates, partly for the Japanese constructions in Long-Kiau, and became responsible for all instances of sea banditry on Formosa as in Chinese waters. The Japanese bestowed all of Formosa to the Chinese and pledged to clear out from Long-Kiau by the 20th of December 1874.
Thus ended the Japanese Formosa expedition. The sole mistake in it was the choice of the time of the year: had they arrived four months later, after the rainy season, they would have met three times fewer obstacles from nature and would have avoided the fever; but by now they lost more than 200 people, who died during the lengthy idle camp stay.
The troops left the island at the time agreed upon. On the day of their departure, the Chinese garrison occupied Long-Kiau, and a day later the Japanese camp became ashes, — the Chinese burned all they purchased, they deemed using it as demeaning. Charred stakes, shards of Japanese crockery, an enormous amount of broken bottles—this is all that still reveals that the Japanese had been there, though the small Japanese coin remains in good currency throughout all of south Formosa.
The danger of losing a part of Formosa had passed, but the Chinese energetically took up coversation with Formosans, especially with the restless inhabitants of the south end of the island. With the exit of the Japanese, negotiations with native taurangs and construction of forts began. [They] based three in Long-Kiau, but the fourth one they planned to build in the mountains. At first, everything went well. The savages, still shocked by the recently experienced horrors, agreed to peace and friendship, and even the intractable Bootangs did not resist. But barely a month had passed when the old discord resumed, manifested in the killing of several Chinese soldiers near the village of Che-tong-ka. Instead of immediately punishing the guilty parties, the mandarins reported this to Pekin; the response from the government was that they had no time to deal with this business due to the New Year’s holiday quickly approaching. And so thus it remained and would have quieted down, in all probability, but a month later (in the middle of February) it occurred again, but in much larger breadth: the natives, enthused by the impunity of their first success, at night attacked a Chinese camp in Gong-Kong and, having butchered ninety people and the mandarin, left with insignificant losses. This butchery finally forced the Chinese to take strong measures against the natives; it was decided to punish them t
hrough force of arms.
And so there is war again in south Formosa; but how it will end is unknown. The Chinese forces, while substantial, are nonetheless divested of any energy and patriotism. The natives, beside personal bravery, are governed by righteous principle of self-preservation.
According to the latest news, which I received on April 1875 from Formosa, the circumstances of the Chinese is not ideal. They were then in the mountains, surrounded by natives, and the forces were suffering much from fever. But the reinforcements were being brought in from Fu-chau (Фу-чау).
[title and rank] Pavel Ibis.
Page 111 VI. The Natives of South Formosa
Excursion to the Pacific Ocean Shore. — Taurangs Issek and Tohukok. — The spot where the Japanese vessel crashed. — The hunt with the Sabari tribe. Excursion to the Bootang region. — Stone gate and the new Chinese colony. — The tribes Sabari, Tuasok, Vangchut, Bakurut, Kuskut, Kantang, Liongruan, and others. — The native villages.
Now I will say a few words about personal acquaintance with natives of south Formosa.
I had to act completely covertly: those mandarins whom I ran into monitored me with obvious unease and using all arguments and measures allowed by etiquette tried to keep me from distant trips. This is understandable, for they are responsible for all the unpleasant confrontations between foreigners and natives in this region under their control. The escort, which they were obligated to provide me, I did not wish to make use of; I considered this mode of travel inconvenient and untactful in the highest degree. Thus, not saying a word to anyone, with the dawn of 17th I left Long-Kiau, having taken along only a rifle and a bag with some presents for the natives. My goal was a visit to the eastern shore, where, as was said, neither the Japanese nor the Europeans have yet been, or at least did not return alive.
Walking along the road built partially by Chinese, partially by the Japanese, I gradually entered the mountains and about three hours later encountered a throng of armed natives page 112 of the Sabari (Сабари) tribe, one of whom undertook to guide me. In this way, without wandering alone in an unfamiliar locale, I arrived around midday in Sabari village, having signed in before hand at the Chinese guard house, placed within a mile of the village; evidently Sabari acknowledge the Chinese rule over themselves.
In the village they meet me affably and were not a little surprised when I explained that I was not a Japanese and did not suffer a [ship]wreck, as they assumed, but rather walked directly from the west. Here I met some important natives from other tribes; among them was Assam (Ассамъ)—taurang of the Kantang (Кантангъ) tribe, and the taurang of the Liongruan (Лiонгруанъ) tribe assembled at the invitation of the Sabari taurang Issek (Иссекъ), for the large hunt planned for the next day.
That same day I paid Issek a visit, whose tapau is located a half-hour's walk further; his deputy in the village was a certain Lubian (Лубiанъ), old and somewhat blind, but still a very lively and chatty Chinese. Issek reminds one very much of a prosperous farmer, doing what he wants in life. His tapau is marvelously situated in the mountains and is built, though, in a simple style, cleanly and diligently; its interior is comfortably furnished with Chinese furniture and is decorated with deer antlers, various armaments, and other hunting accessories; his entire household is evidently in exemplary order, and he himself, as well as his wife, made a very good impression on me. As I was leaving, I received an invitation to participate in tomorrow's hunt, to which I, or course, agreed with pleasure.
From there I went to Tuasok, about four miles northeast from Sabari. Tokhutok, whom I was curious to see, was dead drunk, which is why I quickly left, completely disappointed. In the famous Tokhutok I was hoping to see a man truly imposing and one who commands respect, but this kind of a meeting destroyed my illusions.
I spent the night in Lubian’s house, under the shot-though Japanese [soldier's] overcoat probably taken from the body of a corpse.
Page 113 With the dawn I prepared [to go] to the Pacific shore, despite strong warnings against visiting the Kuarut tribe, of which evidently even the other tribes are fearful. Again I went along; a guide was in any case not needed—the wide course of the river was the best road sign.
Having walked an hour down a well-cultivated valley, I came out in the village of the Bakurut (Бакурутъ) tribe, one of the more numerous peoples here. The Japanese had not reached this area at the time of their expedition; my sudden appearance thus caused a widespread agitation: the women and children ran away shrieking; the men, having armed themselves first, surrounded me and with various pantomimes tried to find out where my ship was wrecked. Having pointed to the east, I acquired more guides there than I wanted. With the departure from the village, the fields disappeared and the forest began, then gradually transformed into completely impassable thicket. Walking at times along the course of the river, at times in the forest we carefully traversed through the region of the savage Kuarut tribe and came out finally in a small cove formed by the mouth of the river. As I was told, this was the very place where the natives killed Lu-Chuans from the Japanese vessel wrecked farther south; they [the crew] probably moved here in order to have fresh water. Chunks of this and other vessels are found in places in the interior of the island, in the form of little bridges over the rivulets and ditches. At the shore there stand two straw huts, built, as was explained to me, by the marauders in order to watch over the sea and the vessels.
My guides, it seemed, were not completely happy when they ascertained that there was no crashed ship here, and I did not suffer a wreck, but, like children, immediately forgot that I had deceived them and themselves laughed at this.
After dinner, having returned to Sabari, I headed to taurang Issek. The hunt was in full swing. The leader, having greeted me, provided me a place in the chain. This hunt does not at all differ from ours: the whole valley behind the taurang’s residence was surrounded by a battue, page 114 and at its entrance a chain of the most important divisions and best hunters of the tribe was strung. But the originality of the locale and of the hunters themselves captivated me so much that for the first time in my life I felt like a hunter, and what a zealous one at that! The hunt was successful; several deer lay at Issek’s feet, and he personally removed the racks and carved the best parts. In tapau a dinner awaited the hunters who dealt with it with a hunter's appetite. At sunset, I was barely able to tear myself away from them and returned to Long-Kiau at midnight, where they met me surprised that I had came back whole and unharmed. A soldier who had kept watch at my camp the entire day ran to the mandarin with a report about this important event.
The success of this excursion enticed me toward another, riskier one—to the north, into the land of the Bootangs, the ogres of this region.
Again I was forced to travel the road built by the Japanese artillery. About two miles to the north-northeast from Long-Kiau a rivers flows out from the mountains; the entrance to the region of the natives is located here. It is defended now by two small forts; then they were just finishing their construction (the third fort, a larger one, is located near the very Long-Kiau). Having walked three miles or so through a completely uncultivated region, I entered a small valley and again saw rice fields and red roofs peeking through the greenery; this was a new Chinese colony, probably formed during or after the Japanese expedition. Pretty brick buildings, built even with a certain architectural lavishness, testified to the well-being of the colonists and their intentions to stay here permanently. Here I found four Chinese who agreed to guide me and continued my way.
The valley was growing narrower again. An hour later we came out of the forest to the river shore and in front of me one of the most amazing views in Formosa opened: the river emerges from a dark gorge 20 sagenes or so in width; along both sides naked aspid rises almost vertically, to the height of more than 500 feet; and at the depths of the gorge one can make out a page 115 transverse cliff covered in dense forest. This is an entrance to the land of Bootang and Kuskut; the Japanese nicknamed it “The Stone Gates.” A bloody encounter occurred here between them and the natives who, having hidden themselves in the greenery, desperately defended this natural fortress.
The Chinese would not guide me further, pointing, with a look of fright, at their necks. But the mysterious country that lay beyond these grand gates drew me involuntarily,—I traversed the river and continued alone. Here the locale is completely wild and severe, as are its inhabitants.
But, evidently, then Bootang had changed their place of occupancy after the Japanese expedition and distanced themselves further to the north. Thus the darkness overtook me before I reached any abode and forced me to spend the night under the open sky. The night's dampness, cold ground, and wet dress had their effect: the next morning I awoke with a strong fever and only owing to several natives (from the Kuskut tribe it seems) made my way to the Chinese colony, where, having quaffed my fill of tea, I rested a little and returned to Long-Kiau in the evening.
The next morning I was healthy enough to leave Long-Kiau and went north, to the great joy of the mandarins.
I here encountered the following native tribes: Sabari, Tuasok, Vangehut, Bakurut, Kuskut, Kantang, Liong-ruan (the last two only in the persons of the taurangs).
The geographical position of these tribes is as follows: the Sabari are located approximately at 22º 4' N latitude and 120º 48' from Greenwich. To the north of them live the Vangehut, to the northeast the Tuasok, to the east Bakurut, to the southeast the Kuarut, to the south the Liongruan, the southernmost, it seems, of all of them. To the east from the Bootang, according to the directions of the local Chinese, is the region of the Ninakei (Нинакей)(19), and between them and the Bakurut, the Khong-sua (Хонг-суа) and the Ting-na (Тинг-на).
All these tribes are more or less alike, page 116 it seems, and speak one dialect. Many of them can even communicate in Chinese, and to some even the meaning and usage of convoluted signs of Chinese written language is comprehensible to a certain degree.
They are short in height, skinny, and are built disproportionately, with incorrect facial features and extraordinarily unattractive. Their skin color is very dirty, with some kind of sickly-yellowish or even greenish undertone. The women are no more beautiful—weak figures with some kind of oppressed facial expression. Only with the Vang-chut, do they seem a little taller, less hideous and more alive.
The men crop their hair short leaving at the top of the head a small circle, which is tied into a bun or woven into a meager braid—the first sign of Chinese civilization. The women tie their unbraided hair with red ribbons and tie them, like a braid, around the head. This same headdress is in wide usage among women of the Pepo-uan (Пепо-уанъ) in the middle of Formosa. Men and women wear chunks of plain wood in the form of draughts(20) in their ears.
Their dress has been adopted from the Chinese, but sits [on them] quite well. Men wear short pants, enough only halfway down the haunches, and blue-colored, light jacket, trimmed mainly in red. Women dress in the likeness of the local Chinese women in a light blouse and wide pants, but the entire dress is significantly shortened, and the head is tied with a scarf. The reigning colors are black and blue; rarely white. They have few bracelets, beads, etc. and men rarely adorn themselves with them.
The food, table manners, and its [the table's] ambiance is the same as with the Saprek tribe. They eat three times a day—in the morning around eight o'clock, at midday, and before the sunset.
The domesticated animals—buffalo, pig, dog, cat, hens, and ducks.
Their armaments are the same as the Saprek and all Formosans, but they are bereft of any adornments.
Page 117 They cultivate rice, wheat, millet, yams, batata, banana, and areca.
The three villages I saw are all located in the valley at the river shores and are not in any way fortified. The Sabari village in general resembles a Chinese one. The houses are build from unfired brick and are covered with rice straw. Usually all members of a family live under one roof, which covers a row of rectangular rooms with separate entrances that also serve as windows. The gallery covered with bamboo connects all rooms on the outside. In the middle of the house is a common dining hall and the room of the head of the family; on both sides are separate sleeping rooms, a kitchen, a storeroom, etc. The household dishware and utensils are Chinese, excepting the tableware made from gourds and deer antlers, with which the walls are adorned. The Sabari village is quite large, the inhabitants number 200 people. Tuasok is significantly smaller but similarly built. The Bakurut village does not resemble them. Here the huts are built in small rectangles; their low walls are plaited from bamboo and swathed with terra cotta; the roof is very tall and steep. Each hut stands separately on a spacious cleared square. Between them are small vegetable plots and buffalo pens.
In these villages I did not find any human skulls, which the local natives are suspected of collecting. It may be that this [practice] is common with Kuarut and tribes similarly wild; the custom of taking the heads of the killed enemies allows for this supposition.
VII. The Katsausan tribe
Fung-shan-hiyen province. Village Bankimtsyng. The road to the natives and the village Tau-siia. Tribe Katsausan: exterior, dress, etc. Return to Takao.
It is difficult to imagine a locale more attractive than Fung-shan province. The greening plantations are succeeded by bamboo groves and countless settlements surrounded by bushy palms, page 118 bananas and fruit trees especially strikingly depicted with mountains in the background acutely delineated in their outlines from the cloudless sky. The eye lingers with pleasure on these bright, always variegated sights, full of life, power, and calm harmony. This valley is remarkably fertile: sugar, rice, bananas, and areca grow splendidly here, and the bamboo reaches up to 70-80 feet forming magnificent alleys around the settlements. It is populated especially densely: by Chinese in the west, and in the east by the Peop people (Pepo-uan) of Malayan origin, who have accepted Chinese civilization and rule.
Village Bankimtsyng (Банкимтсынг), where I arrived after a three-day crossing, lies at the 22º38' north latitude and 120º40' east longitude from Greenwich at the foothill of the mountain of the same name (9,000 feet). The village is inhabited almost exclusively by hard-working people of a jolly and worry-free nature; there are 300 people of the male sex and the majority are of the Catholic faith. Later I got better acquainted with the Pepo, and thus I will not speak of them now. Here my attention was mainly turned to the neighboring highlanders, in many ways different from the natives I have met earlier.
In Bankimtsyng I stayed in a cozy home of the catholic mission. Father Chin-chong (Чин-чонг), an esteemed Dominican, who received me with genuine delight, was very happy to see a European. He has already lived twelve years on Formosa.
Three miles or so east of Bankimtsyng, the mountains rise steeply out of the flatland and climb straight to several thousand feet. Here lives the Katsausan (Катсаусан) tribe, apparently strong and numerous. These highlanders, who are resolute enemies of the Chinese, are in good relations with the Pepo-uan and maintain exchange trade with them. Because of this is was not too difficult for me to find several young Pepo who would agree to guide me into their village and carry the necessary quantity of samshu and betel—page 119 the best recommendations. The headman of the village himself took care of everything and I could already leave the next morning. My kuli, it stands to reason, preferred to remain below, knowing that Katsausan have a custom of decorating their pikes with hair from Chinese braids; I forced the translator, on the other hand, to come with me.
The only entrance into the mountain region is formed by a small river, the tributary of Tang-Kang. Judging from the wide course, it must be considerable during the rainy season. Its banks, which rise almost vertically, are covered in wild vegetation. The trail leading to the highlander's village follows at first along the river course, then climbs into the mountains, as in the Saprek land—not so steeply, but much higher, after which it again proceeds horizontally.
The Katsausan live in several villages. The first of these, I visited, lies within 10 miles or so from Bankimtsyng and is called Tau-siia (Тау-сия) by the Chinese, while the second is Lai-siia (Лай-сия).
Tau-siia village is built on a steep and naked mountain incline at a significant height. All the houses are made exclusively from aspid—walls, roof, sliding doors and shutters—all are made from this stone. The backs of the houses abut the mountain. The wall of the front facade is only four feet or so in width, but the roof is high, so inside it is spacious. The interior is divided with a partition into a small anteroom and an actual living room, where the hearth is. Around the walls are low benches, covered in native mat; they sleep, sit and eat on them, and there is no other furniture. In the crockery products, Chinese articles can be found. In front of every house there is a small yard, in the center of which there is a storeroom—a high straw hut, supported by piles at the height of 4-5 feet above ground; these piles are closed at the top with round aspid plates to ward off rats. Near the houses are vegetable plots with bananas and areca.
The other villages, they say, are exactly the same; each has its own taurang, who is governed by the main taurang, living in Lai-siia. He is still quite a young and a handsome man.
Page 120 The food and drinks, weapons, work, the state of the culture and the level of development of these people are reminiscent of Saprek, but in appearance, language, temperament, and costume they significantly differ from them. Here a Malayan, or more precisely a Tagalian, element is much more cleanly noticeable.
The men are a little shorter than medium height, more slender than stocky, and with quite powerful muscles. Their cheek-bones do not protrude much; the nose and mouth are not especially wide. The women are also not bad and have large expressive eyes. They are of middle height, but are too full. The color of their skin is light-bronze, somewhat dirty in seniors; the hair is more dark-blonde than black.
The ears of the Katsausan are decorated with common Chinese earrings. The glass beads of various forms and sizes, rings on fingers, bracelets, and chains are in wide use among both sexes, as are tattoos, but exclusively on arms(21) and fingers.
The men's costume is as follows: instead of pants, a blue scarf, tied around the waist in the form of a short skirt; jacket of blue or yellow color; red, blue or white belt and a headband of those same colors; a strip of lightweight black cloth over one shoulder. The colorfulness of the costume and originality of weaponry, which they never let out of their hands, makes their figures quite aesthetically pleasing. The women's costume is as follows: a long skirt, on top of which is worn a narrow blouse with high cuts at the sides and narrow, long sleeves; the calves are tied with a strip of blue cloth, sewn together in the form of trousers; on the head is a large scarf of light color which falls in large pleats onto the neck; on top of it lies a wreath of green leaves. Favorite colors—blue and light blue. Men and women walk barefoot.
According to the Pepo, who know them well, they are not mean-spirited, but are profit-minded and when drunk are rowdy and dangerous.
Here I heard native singing for the first time, page 121 an original melody that reminded me of the Sandwich islands. They have no musical instruments.
On Saturday the 21st of January I returned to Takao, where I stayed several days in respite. Along the way I came through Pitai, the main town of Fung-shan province, which does not differ in any way from other Chinese cities. In Pitai there is a large garrison; I counted as many as twenty forts, or rather fortified camps, built symmetrically one opposite the other.
The production of sugar and sugar factories on Formosa. — The town of Tai-van-fu. — The remnants of the Dutch ownership; Fort Zelandiia. An-ping. — Historical news of Formosa.
The road from Takao to Tai-van-fu is monotonous and boring. The entire locale is almost exclusively cultivated in sugar, and large villages, which are frequent, do not stand out neither in beauty nor in cleanliness.
Along the way I surveyed several sugar factories and took a closer look in general at the local sugar industry. The sugar is planted in wide rows from 2 to 3 feet and ripens during the year not requiring any kind of attention. Before the harvest, the cane is defoliated by hand or, if completely dried out, by fire, after which it is cut and goes directly to the factory. Juicing must happen no more than three days [later], otherwise it will deteriorate. The factories are of the same formation: they are composed of two compartments: the first is a conical straw hut where juice is pressed, the second a rectangular building in which the sugar is boiled out. The juice is pressed between two smooth stone cylinders placed vertically; the cylinders are supplied with wooden teeth that grab each other and are rotated by three buffaloes hitched to a lever. The juice flows out in an underground trough into a large vat dug into the ground in the second compartment, where page 122 it is mixed with lime and boiled out, i.e. it is gradually passed through eight cauldrons, while a dirty foam is constantly skimmed from the top, and is finally poured into a flat box where it solidifies and crystallizes, and in this form is supplied in trade. The stoves are fired outside the building, a separate one under each cauldron. The pressed cane is dried and used immediately here at the plant as fuel.
The sugar cane on Formosa is not tall—only seven feet or so—and is from 1 to 1 1/2 inches in cross-section, but it is very sweet and juicy.
The plantations are fractured between numerous farmers-entrepreneurs. Due to shortage of working hands and the imperfection of machines for sugar production, they divide their fields into small plots which they cultivate at different times, so the sugar harvest goes on almost the entire year. But this is a major inconvenience in trade: the buyer, beside the big hassles due to small purchases, often is unable to procure the needed quantity of sugar and the chartered ship either waits or departs with half cargo.
Tai-van-fu is the island's main town. According to Chinese data it has 220,000 inhabitants, but this number seems greatly exaggerated, and the local English consul supposes that there are no more than 70,000 of them. Tai-van-fu is a town in actuality, surrounded by a thick brick wall four miles in circumference and quite a wide suburb, of the newest construction, abutting the town from the north and north-west. Eight gates lead into the city, and above the gates rise towers built in mannered Chinese style. The bank is kept clean and serves as the best place for taking a walk. At 8 o'clock at night, the gates are locked, and a little later all streets are divided off from each other also with gates; in long streets there are several of them. This is a great expediency for the police, but is inconvenient in the highest degree for the inhabitants. The streets of this city are only from eight to ten feet in width, straight, and remarkably clean for a Chinese town. They page 123 are paved with brick, and several are covered with canopies, in which in places transparent plates of mother of pearl are placed instead of glass. All streets are alike, as in almost all Chinese cities, and teem with people. There are many shrines, but they are dirty and do not stand out in their architectural beauty, even though there are prosperous ones among them. There are only one or two Buddhist shrines here. This religion, which demands splendor and riches, evidently had quite little success in Formosa and then only in the towns; the village folk keep exclusively to the rational cult of Confucius.
Among local creations the silver products are noteworthy. They are of good quality but are second to the Cantonese in gracefulness.
In the southwest part of the town a desert plaza is located, grown over in bamboo and shrubbery; there, they say, was the palace of king Coxinga. In the western part there remain some ruins of a small Dutch castle. Beside these remnants of Dutch possession, occasionally they also find gravestones and various manuscripts from those times under houses. But I myself have never seen these.
Tai-van-fu now lies within 1 1/2 miles from the sea but before, they say, was much closer to it. Judging from an old Dutch book describing the loss of Formosa (Verwaerloos de Formosa of Warachtig Verhaer t'Amsterdam 1675(22)), fort Zelandiia (Зеландия), which today stands ½ miles from the shore, then stood at the very shore, and between the fort and the town there was a harbour which accommodated large vessels. Now this place has grown so shallow that only occasionally during syzygies is it covered with water.
The ruins of the fort Zelandiia lie within two miles from the town. The Chinese are tearing it down now and are building out of its stout material two new ones. An-ping (Ан-пинг) the port town, is located near Zelandiia and has a few trader's homes.
In Tai-van-fu there is a garrison of about 10,000.
Page 124 The historical data about Formosa almost exclusively focuses on the reign of the Dutch, which ended with the capture of Tai-van-fu by the Chinese.
The first news of Formosa was brought to China by Pescadorian fishermen but only in the beginning of the 15th century were Chinese migrants found here. The natives in those times are described as good-natured people disposed toward trade but the greed and haughty treatment by the Chinese attracted to the riches of the island established the beginnings of tribal war, which continues to this day.
In 1622, the Dutch, who were unsuccessfully trying to secure trade rights from China, occupied the Pescadorian islands by force; the Chinese government induced them to leave Pescadores and move to Formosa, which was at that point useless to it [the Chinese government]. In this manner, the Dutch came into Tai-van-fu in 1624 and founded fort Zelandiia. The Japanese, whom they met there, ceded the island to them, and ten years later the Dutch ruled over the entire western coast, having trading stations, besides Tai-van-fu, in Takao, Tamsui, and Kilong. The newcomers, according to their own system of colonization, married the native women and mixed in this way with the people; the spread of Christianity went at first successfully, but later was constricted by the Dutch government itself out of fear of harming the trade with the Japanese, who persecuted Christianity at the time. Dutch laws were introduced into the land.
During the fall of the Ming dynasty the Chinese moved to Formosa by the thousands; but the Dutch, instead of attempting to dispose them [the Chinese] toward themselves, received them hostilely, out of fear of being pushed out. This trend toward monopolization influenced the latter loss of the island in key ways.
The fall of the Mings and the possession of the throne by the Manchus caused disorder in China, which certain administrators of far-removed provinces used page 125 to become independent. In this way Chin-Chin-Kung (Чин-Чин-Кунг), or, as he is usually called, Coxinga,(23) the administrator of Amoy province, with the full awareness of the impossibility of remaining on the continent fighting against the power of the Manchus, turned his attention to Formosa. This island was already familiar to him through trade relations with the Dutch—they say even that his mother was a Formosan. Under the pretext of defense against the Manchus he concentrated all his power in Amoy and entered into secret relations with Formosa's Chinese, who took his side. Suspecting his intentions, the Dutch also increased the garrison and fleet in Tai-van-fu. But Coxinga so artfully carried his business that the Dutch quite calmed down and sent the extra vessels with the troops back to Batavia. Then Coxinga, with 25,000 troops, unexpectedly landed in Tai-van-fu, blocked the harbor, and cut all communications between fort Zalandia and the city. Only one vessel had time to leave and hurried to Java for help. A fierce nine-month siege began; the Dutch held bravely. Coxinga, enraged by the lengthy resistance, turned all his anger on the regional Dutch and their Chinese compatriots. Once, [as a punishment] for a town's decline to surrender, 500 prisoners were killed.
Finally, ten vessels and seven hundred troops arrived from Batavia. The condition of the besieged turned slightly for the better, but the siege continued. At this time Coyett,(24) the then governor, received a letter from the governor of Fu-kien with the invitation to join forces and chase out Coxinga first from the mainland, and then from Formosa. This invitation was accepted, and five vessels left to Amoy. But with the departure of the ships, Coxinga, having marshaled all his forces, captured the fort in an assault, and the town surrendered. The Dutch were allowed an unimpeded exit, and
Coxinga declared himself the king of Formosa.
Thus, in the year of 1662 the Dutch reign here ended page 126 and the latter attempts to return Formosa did not enjoy success.
Coxinga did not reign for long, however; he was treacherously killed by the Chinese. With his successors the island kept its independence for a time, and only in 1683 voluntarily joined the Chinese.
As far as I know, the island of Formosa in 1842, during the English-Chinese war again attracted Europe's attention in the following incident: Two English vessels—transport Nerbudda(25) and opium ship(26)-Ann(27)—crashed near Tai-van-fu quickly one after the other. On the first, there were 240 Hindu people, all of whom remained in Formosa, at the same time as the Europeans reached the mainland, but the Chinese treated them so badly that most of them died. The crew of the second, consisting of 57 people, were taken prisoner in its entirety, and many reached the same fate; those who stayed alive were beheaded on the 13th of August, with the exception of ten people whom they intended to send to Pekin as a trophy, but with the announcement of the treaty they were freed. Killing was carried out at the order of the Pekin court, based on false report of the Tai-van-fu commandant, that supposedly the Europeans caused disturbances there and killed several Chinese. Having learned of this, Sir Henry Pottinger,(28) the English representative, made public the notices, printed in Chinese, where he gave all details in true light and demanded the punishment of the guilty and the confiscation of their property for the families of the killed. The General-governor of Fu-kiyen personally carried out the investigation, which led to the dismissal and exile of the Tai-van-fu commandant. England was satisfied with that.
Page 127 IX. Bantaurang and Pepo
From Tai-van-fu to Lakull— The character of the locale: mountains, valleys, rivers, etc. Khakka. — Bantaurang tribe. — Pepo-uan. — Village Poe-ting-ioe and Tau-ciya. — Folk dance. — Shrines and religion of the old Pepo. — The condition of Pepo-uan at the present time.
Having left Tai-van-fu on the 2nd of February, I headed east to the village of Lakuli (Лакули), 32 miles from Tai-van-fu as the bird flies at the foothills of the central range. This passage, the most arduous of all, took more than two days, and in the midday of the fourth I arrived in Lakuli.
Everywhere along the way New Year’s was being celebrated. We frequently encountered picturesque processions with music and singing; dressed for the holiday, folk strolled in the fields or sat at the graves of their ancestors, in the evenings burnt fireworks in front of the shrines, and inside the shrines themselves people moved about, occupied with discussions, smoking tobacco and chewing betel, which is sold here in the same places together with fruit and pies. The shrines, it seems, replace clubs here; though nothing else is really necessary of them. To unite at [certain] times the people for mutual enjoyments after labors, in order to maintain unanimity—this is their main task. The costs of processions and holidays, having for the most part a civic meaning, is levied against people in the form of a tax without differentiation of religion.
The whole region to the east of Tai-van-fu gradually ascends. Within five to six miles of the sea shore the heights begin—first only in the form of plateaus torn probably by earthquakes and powerful water flows; they then transition into higher and more proper ridges that rise to 10,000 feet. Just as gradually, the strata of sand change first into soft sandstone, then into soft aspid, and finally into stout aspid, of which the central ridge is composed. The aspid strata are page 128 mainly slanted to the east, sometimes at the angle of 60 degrees or more; in places they are bent over and torn; above them lay horizontal strata of sand, sometimes of significant thickness. Tracking the construction of the local mountains is not difficult: the naked walls of the gorges, frequent bare cliffs, and deeply carved river courses offer an opportunity for this. Wonderful are the basins and round valleys, surrounded with almost vertical aspid walls, only interrupted in places—these it seems are former water reservoirs. Their soil is extremely fertile, and this is why they are more inhabited. The most proper(29) one of these surrounds the village Khun-tsui (Хун-цуй).
In Lakuli, and at 120º 40' east longitude from Gr. there are rivers, flowing from north to south, not charted on the English map of Formosa. These, it is said, unite at the exit from the mountains forming Tang-kang in this way. At the latitude 23º 10' and longitude 120º 32' I also crossed a river flowing southwest; it is called Kau-na (Кау-на) by the local inhabitants and empties, according to them, near Tai-van-fu into the sea. The banks of these rivers ascend, for the most part, vertically, in two or three terraces.
The west side of the mountains is cultivated and large villages are encountered often, while the east side is mainly covered in forest, which is higher here than in the southern part of the island; humongous fern gives it an especially attractive appearance.
The eastern part of these mountains is inhabited by the Pepo people, while the west is mainly by Chinese, among whom I saw several characters with large straight eyes, large beards and facial features of almost Indo-German regularity; but in skin color they are darker than ordinary Chinese. They are called Khakka (Хакка). Their origin seems not yet determined; some say that they are sinicized gypsies; others that they are aborigines of the south Chinese page 129 mountains, recently migrated to Formosa. The Khakka women do not disfigure their feet.
Having arrived in Lakuli still at the time of the celebration of the New Year I found here many highlanders of the Bantaurang (Бантауранг) tribe, who descended for barter trade. As this is done once a year by them, something akin to a market is set up, after which the relations between them and the inhabitants of the village end. Bantaurang live two days walk or so from here, beyond the central ridge. It is said that they make up a numerous and dangerous tribe. All evening I observed them, finding out what I could.
These people are lighter than other highlanders that I had seen. They are of medium height, slender for the most part, and well-constituted; among the women there are true beauties with dark fiery eyes and luxurious hair. Bantaurang faces are more oval than with other tribes, the lines of the nose and mouth are more proper, and the cheek bones do not protrude.
The men's costume is very colorful. I saw, for example, red jackets with green sleeves and orange cuffs. Around the hips a skirt is put on, as with Katsausan, but the legs of many are also tied with a piece of cloth in the type of long narrow pants, and one sometimes encounters one pant leg that is red and the other orange or green. On their heads, they wear leather caps, tied around with a large piece of material like a turban, some decorated with an eagle feather or a red lily. The women's costume is also reminiscent of the Katsausan women, the only [difference is that] some wear a short jacket that covers only the upper part of the breast instead of a blouse; and instead of a skirt, a black scarf tied tightly around the waist as with Tagalians. The women also wear large white turbans, with yellow flowers stuck underneath falling low on their foreheads. Men and women wear glass beads, bracelets, and long earrings. I noticed tattoos only on women's arms.
It seems that in many respects this tribe resembles the Katsausan: houses, weapons, food, etc are exactly the same as page 130 with the latter. As for development, they also place no higher. The custom to bury the dead inside the hut is accepted only with this tribe. The drunkenness among them is developed no less then with Katsausan; in Lakuli there was not a person sober.
I wanted to go with them to their village, but they left that same night, and not one of the Chinese or Pepo would undertake to guide me. Because of this I had to abandon the entire plan to reach the western shore and with not a small regret left Lakuli heading northwest in order to arrive in Ka-gi.
The first evening I stopped in a beautiful village, Poe-ting-loe (Поэ-тинг-лое), located at the foothills of the tall woody mountains. The local Pepo have never yet seen Europeans, which is why the majority assembled at the house where I stayed.
The evening was quiet and splendid, as all moonlight evenings on Formosa. In the yard of the hut, dances and singing began—first of course with a certain reserve, but later more and more spontaneous and loud.
This dance consists of the following: young men and women stand in a circle, holding hands. With rhythmic singing and repetition of the same musical phrase, the dancers take alternately a step back, and two steps to the side. The song strengthens, the tempo increases and the dance becomes quicker and quicker—rhythmic steps transform into wild leaps—finally the circle breaks somewhere, and the dancers disperse. The women dress for the duration of the dance like the Bantaurang women, making a skirt for themselves out of a light-weight black scarf, a constant accessory of their costume.
The next day I passed over a steep ridge, towering to the excess of 2000 feet: on it scattered infrequently were huts of Khakka and Pepo, who are engaged in the cultivation of ginger, pineapple, papaya, and banana. Then I descended into a wide valley in the middle of which flows the Kau-na river. Its banks, rising in several terraces of bare aspid, narrow in places and ascend vertically to 100 page 131 or 200 feet from the water. This river is deeper and runs calmer, and sailing boats travel on it.
Late in the evening I arrived in Tau-siia (Тау-сия), a large village completely hidden in bamboo and areca plantations. Here live the Pepo-uan and among them are several Christian-Presbyterians; the rest are idol worshippers, who worship old deer skulls and antlers. This is the only place in Formosa where I saw among the natives something akin to shrines and some religious traditions.
In Tau-siia there are two huts dedicated to this purpose. In one of them, located in the village itself, there are deer antlers attached to the rear wall, and along the two sides, placed symmetrically, are two iron pikes and several deer skulls, laden with varicolored stones. These talismans, they say, are more than 300 years old. In front of them stand pots with water, decanters with samshu and bunches of areca nuts—these are sacrifices. In the other hut, behind the village, skulls are simply tied to a post in the middle of a hut open from all sides.
Each Pepo is required to sacrifice something to the skulls two times a month. At the entrance to the shrine the turban is taken off the head. The day of a wedding, the groom with the bride heads to the skulls and, having taken some vodka in the mouth, sprays them, after which follows dancing and a feast. At birth, death of a near [relative(30)], or in the case of some sort of misfortune the same is done. The religious customs are limited to this. There are no priests.
The present day Pepo-uan, found for more than forty miles (from Bankimtsyng to Ka-gi) probably stems from several separate tribes, the distinguishing features of which were smoothed out under the influence of the Chinese civilization accepted by them and mutual intermingling. It may be supposed that in them there is even some Chinese blood. The Pepo skin color is lighter then other highlanders, and they are taller then them in height, but not so stout in constitution, and their facial features are softer.
The learning of Confucius, Chinese culture, and costume are accepted page 132 almost everywhere; only women have preserved some particulars in dress (huge turbans, short jackets, and large black scarves); but these specifics are encountered only in the mountainous locale—in Bankimsyng, for example, with the exception of the custom of tying the hair with red ribbons, everything else is Chinese.
According to the missionaries, the temperament of the Pepo is good and peaceful.
X. Sek-yan —Northern Formosa
Western Formosa. — Kali and Chang-ua. — The Sek-yan tribe. — Northern Formosa: character of the locale, cities, products. — Tea and Camphor. — Kilong. — Coal mines. — Tamsui. — Return to Gong-Kong.
Western Formosa, approximately from 23º 15' to 24º north latitude, is again lowland and is occupied exclusively by Chinese. There are many villages and the inhabitants are, it seems, not poor. This swath, from 20 to 25 miles in width, produces mainly sugar, rice, areca, bananas, mangoes, and other fruits.
In the evening of the 8th of February I arrived in Ka-gi, the main town of the province of the same name. This is a fairly nice-looking town, located near the mountains and with up to 10,000 inhabitants. Its streets are clean and even wide, for a Chinese town, and are covered in places, as in Tai-van-fu. There are many shrines and some of them, while small, are nonetheless beautifully built. Presbyterians founded a station here recently.
My plan to visit the Tsui-uan (Тсуй-уан) tribe unfortunately fell apart due the to cowardice of the Chinese. Even though this tribe is not in the least bit dangerous, neither in Kagi nor on the road to Chang-ua could a guide be found: all were afraid of the possible encounter with Kale near whose territory it would have been necessary to travel. Because of this I had to continue on the road to Chang-ua, an uncomely town, important only in its proximity to camphor forests; there are up to 10,000 inhabitants in it.
Now I hurried to the Sek-uan (Сек-уанъ) tribe, which differs so much from the others that page 133 even its Malayan origin is doubted. Sek-uan occupy a hilly locale to the northeast of Chang-ua and are more civilized than the other Formosan natives. The Presbyterians founded several of their outposts with them; I arrived in one of them, Toa-sia (Тоа-сиа), on the 12 of February and stayed there for two days.
Sek-uan are taller than medium height, and are of stout build. Their faces are oval, with large features, the forehead is high, their eyes are very large, the nose is large, the mouth is wide, and the teeth are very big. The beard is heavier than with the other tribes and on their chests, arms and legs there is hair. The color of their hair is dark-blonde; the skin is light, and some even have a rosy face. These departures from their characteristics are more acute, actually, in ripe old age, and with men, women, and children the Malayan type is more clearly visible.
Sek-uan only recently voluntarily accepted Chinese administration, and because of this have still preserved much of their own uniqueness, but their taurangs are already considered Chinese mandarins. While they all know Chinese, the commonly used language is the native one, which differs somewhat from other Formosan vernaculars, from which it is clear that they previously lived and developed separately from other tribes. Owing to the local conditions (and it may be, to the Dutch) they have long since been occupied in field labors, cultivating indigo, tobacco, and a special kind of hemp. Strong fabrics, their main produce, are in wide use in all of the northern part of the island.
Their costume is partially akin to the Chinese. The men wear a braid and a turban on top, and Chinese pants and blouses from non-white canvass, which fastens in the middle of the chest and fits tightly on the body. Sometimes its entire back half is adorned with cross stripes of red and blue patterns, and the sleeves are sewn from some different, mainly dark-blue material. Women dress like the local Chinese women, excluding the headdress; they partly let out their hair onto their foreheads, cutting it at the brow line, and the rest they tie into a bun on the top of the head. Page 134 On the head, a small black scarf is thrown on, the two back ends of which are lightly tied on the back of the head.
Their dwellings and agricultural tools are Chinese.
Almost all inhabitants of Toa-sia are Christians. At the chapel there is a school, and all children have to attend; they teach them to read and write in Chinese with Latin letters, also arithmetic, geography, God's law, and Holy history. The missionaries say that Sek-uan are in general disposed to intellectual pursuits, and learn and read eagerly. Unfortunately they still have few books printed in Latin letters.
From Toa-siya(31) (Тоа-сия) it would have been easy to end up at Tsui-uan, where there is also a missionary station, but the road there and back would have taken more than five days to travel. By now, I already did not have this much time, and I had to hurry in order not to be late for the steamship departing Tamsui for the mainland in six or seven days.
Sek-yan was the last native tribe that I was able to see, but time constraints did not allow me to depart from the direct route. At Kilong anchorage, I visited another island, whose inhabitants are also called Pepo-yan, but they are an obvious mixture of natives with Chinese and the Dutch.
The road north is dull; poverty is everywhere; only rarely does one encounter potato and rice fields and sorry villages. In the north itself, above Tekcham, the character of the country is again more attractive: precipitous mountains are covered in cedar and camphor forests and dark greenery which light bamboo variegates. Farms and villages are encountered more often. This locale reminded me of Japan, especially the surroundings of Kioto (Киото) near lake Biva (Бива), with the only difference being that it is not so fully cultivated.
Covering twenty miles per day or more, in five days (19th of February) I arrived in Tva-tu-tiia (Тва‑ту‑тiя), a European settlement within eight miles of Tamsui harbor. An almost uninterrupted rain come down the entire time. In places it was necessary to cross widely flooded rivers, up to the waist in cold waters and to spend the nights in repulsive holes: houses for page 135 smoking opium, whose unsound roofs did not always protect from the rain. Not used to dampness and cold, my kuli got ill, and with difficulty I found two more people to help them. It is easy to imagine the pleasure with which I rested after such a passage in a comfortable house of Brown(32) and Co (33), the hospitality of which I made use of in Tva-tu-tiia, as in Takao and Tai-van-fu.
Approximately at 24º 25' north latitude Formosa's meridian mountains are met by a short transverse ridge, thus forming a high mountainous knot, in the center of which lies Mt. Silvia(34) (11,300 feet). The transverse ridge is called Western or "Dodd’s range."(35) Parallel to it there run at the north several others named according to the tribe that inhabits them, Tangau (Тангау). To the west the surface descends gradually in terraces so that the entire shore from Goshe (Гошэ) (at 24º 15' north latitude) to Tamsui is raised. The soil here is composed mainly of red clay.
North Formosa is rich in rivers, all emptying into one—Tamsui river, the only one on the island navigable to a degree and thus important to the trade.
The cities in this swath:
Goshe—a small place, important as the closest one to Chang-ua,—an anchorage for junks.
Taika (Тайка) and Aulang (Аулангъ)—towns with 5,000 inhabitants, also important to junk trade in camphor and camphor wood.
Tekcham—The main town of the Tamsui province (or more accurately Tam-Tsui (Там-Тсуй)) with 30,000 inhabitants, rich trade spot for domestic trade in tea, indigo, and camphor.
Tamsui or Hoa-vey(Хоа-вей), open port for foreign trade.
Sing-tsyng(Синг-тсынг) and Vang-ka (Ванг-ка) (or Mang-ka (Манг-ка)), lively towns on the river To-ka-kham (То-ка-хамъ) issuing from the camphor locales. Finally Tva-tu-tiia, on the same river, is actually a village, but, due to its proximity to tea plantations, some trade houses have agencies for production of tea there.
The produce of this area is mainly rice, page 136 indigo, tea, and camphor. Rice and indigo are produced more for local use and are not exported much, but tea and camphor comprise the main goods of foreign trade.
Tea grows in short shrubs, arranged in rows on the sunny side of hills. The picking of its leaves occurs from March to May, after which they lose taste. The bushes older than six or seven years old are unusable. The tea is first sorted by leaf size, then dried. As I saw in the house of Brown and Co, this happens on wood coals, the heat of which is diminished by a layer of ash poured on top. The coals lie in round holes two feet or so in depth and the same diameter. Woven bamboo cylinders with a removable bottom in the center are placed on top of the holes. A layer of tea is poured on the bottom, and is stirred constantly during the drying process. The drying is repeated up to four or five times, after which they sort the tea again and then pack it. The black tea is pounded underfoot before the drying process. Predominantly women work on plantations. The export of tea from Tamsui rose between 1869 and 1872 from 91,154 taels to 583,872 taels and is still growing.
The camphor is also exported on foreign vessels, but at this time still only the Chinese are engaged in its distillation, and only by using the most unsophisticated of methods. Finely chopped wood is placed in flat cast iron cauldrons, tightly closed with lids of the same material, and is placed into a long stove, where the camphor is released and is collected on the lids of the cauldrons. Camphor evaporated in this manner is packed in wooden boxes, which in Tamsui are wrapped in lead, and in this manner are exported, mainly to India. The mountains of northern Formosa are covered in continuous forests of camphor trees, but they are located in the natives' territory, from whom the Chinese buy, for vodka, the rights to cut a certain number of trees. The main spot for this is To-ka-kham.
Recently oil sources were found here (approximately at 24º 30' N latitude and 120º 55'0 longitude from Greenwich), page 137 which are developed now by Dodd and Co,(36) and near Tamsui there are several sulphators in the hands of the same house.
The steamship Hay-loong, (37) on which I intended to return to Gon-kong, was not in Tamsui yet, and the time of its exact arrival was not known, as during the last sailing it was significantly late; it was supposed that it would arrive five or six days hence. This gave me the opportunity to visit Kilong and its coal mines; at the same time the rain, which continued on unremittingly for a whole week, ended, and according to the opinion of the local inhabitants several good[-weather] days were at hand.
The road there lies along the mountain stream, emerging about four miles from Kilong, and emptying into the Tamsui river near Tva-tu-tiia. Its tall narrow banks are covered with beautiful flora, in which the fern, especially the fern palm, play a large role. As with any mountainous one, the Kilong stream flows quickly and with many rapids, which is why a special type of flat-bottomed boat is used here, which the English call rapid boats (38). They are equipped with a sail, oars, pole for pushing off, and at the nose and stern with two removable bars for dragging it across the rapids. These boats are spacious, covered from the top, and are all equipped with household items. Two rowers sit on each side.
By the evening, however, I was not able to reach the source of the river, and the darkness forced [us] to nuzzle into the shore. Inside the boat [they] made a fire, and boiled rice, onion, pork, and tea, and I, with pleasure, shared the rower's modest chau-chau (чау-чау), as I did not provision myself with anything. The night was cold, but it was tolerable inside the boat covered from all sides. With the dawn we advanced further, and about two hours later we stopped in a large pool, surrounded by charming vegetation; this is the source of the Kilong river, surrounded with cascades. From here is was necessary to ascend across the ridge about 1,000 feet in height, from which opens a spectacular view on the Kilong cove. This cove reminded me, in general, of Nagasaki's, only than it is significantly shorter, and to me, more beautiful than the other one.
Page 138 Kilong (or Kelong (Келонг)) is in actuality a large village, located at the very depths of the cove. Close to the outlet, on the eastern side, there are several white European buildings, built attractively and comfortably, as everything in the east, where the English live. These are the customs buildings and several trader's houses. In the same location are the remains of a small Dutch fort.
The administrator of customs, of whom I had recommendation [letters] was Russian, in his third year here already. For amusement he occupies himself in meteorological observations, the results of which he publishes yearly. This is, so far, the only meteorological station on Formosa. A young Englishman was his guest at the time, a mountain engineer, invited here by the Chinese government to study local coal mines, which are being developed at this time by the Chinese without any regulations. According to this engineer's opinion, the European method of exploitation would not be profitable here. There is not enough coal to cover the expenses for the machines and the railroad, which it would be necessary to build between Kilong and the mines (located about three miles to the east) as the river that originates there is so shallow it is accessible only to barges with displacement of about a tonne. It would be another thing if there were other, richer coal deposits in the vicinity.
The coal stratum is located here under sandstone, whose layers fall to the south at about 15 to 25º, and terminate in the north with sheer precipices so that the coal emerges, for the most part, to the surface. The passageways, located for ease of labor diagonally with the stratum, begin right at the surface; they are usually two to three feet in width, and three to four in height, depending on the thickness of the stratum being worked. In each passage, no more than two people may work, while two others lift out the coal in simple wheelbarrows. In the mines, which I toured, the thickness of the stratum was only 26 inches, and its angle 20º; its thickness at its most, they say, is 41 inches, and the angle in that location is 12º.
Page 139 Kilong coal is quite clean, and produces only 10 percent slag, but burns quickly, which is why it is often mixed with another. A tonne of it costs from 4 to 5 dollars.
In the same evening a courier from Tva-tu-tiia arrived with the news that the steamship Hai-loong had arrived in Tamsui, and was leaving the next day: it was necessary to leave Kilong as soon as possible in order not to miss it.
An opportune occasion presented itself to take a Chinese gunboat Fu-zing (Фу-зингъ) (Foo-shing),(39) which was leaving with the dawn to Tamsui. The captain, a pleasant mandarin, and a brave sailor, cheerfully took me on as a passenger and even offered to [let me] travel with him to Fu-chau, to where Foo-shing soon had to depart, in case I did not catch the steamship.
Foo-shing is a new boat, built in 1870 in Fu-chau in the likeness of English station ships. Its engine is 80 [horse-]power and provides from 7 to 8 knots of cruising speed. It is armed with four copper weapons and one steel 6-inch one, which is loaded from the breech end (with the mark "Spandau 1860”(40)) The officer's quarters are comfortable, and passengers' cabins are spacious, but the crew lives in cramped quarters. With the boat's purpose as a cargo ship and a transport for moving soldiers and passengers, one cannot complain about the dirt, even though the sleeping deck and the engine could be cleaner. The lack of discipline is striking: the sailors and officers sit on the quarter-deck and smoke. The beds are not made for the day on the sleeping deck, and off-duty men sleep and smoke in them. Clamor and chatter are noticeable at work, though they do work quickly. It is hard to distinguish an officer from a sailor by their clothes, in which complete freedom reigns: some walk around in Chinese, some half in European. It surprised me greatly that the majority of the officers spoke English, and many even quite well. Judging from thick notebooks filled with various astronomical calculations and practical notes, which several page 140 young officers showed me, and also from their stories, they receive a fairly sound education in Fu-Chau (Фу-чауском) marine college. To this point, I should add, that on all Chinese military vessels that I have encountered in Formosa, there was not a single European; only the commanders of the customs boats and all who worked at customs were Europeans.
At midday on the 22nd of February Foo-shing arrived in Tamsui. Hay-loong was still sitting in the harbour and was departing only in the evening, so I had enough time to look over the town and meet the local Europeans.
Tamsui, located at the mouth of a river, takes, after Takao, first place as a trade junction. In it there are five trade companies, and around thirty Europeans. In the last years the trade turnover reached up to 1 1/2 million taels. A castle, occupied by the English consulate remains a monument to the Dutch rule. The building is quite preserved, owing to its thorough construction. Luxurious bananas, with which the embankment is planted, are probably the same age as the castle.
At 10 in the evening the Hay-loong departed, and having stopped for a few hours on the 24th in Takao, arrived in Gong-Kong on the morning of the 27th.
In closing, I will add my own opinion regarding the origin of the Formosans, but only in the form of a supposition, the substantiality of which remains to be proved by more thorough research than that which my knowledge and time allowed me.
Comparing words of Formosan dialects with words of various Malayan languages, I found the greatest similarity between them and the languages of the Philippine islands, and among the latter with the Tagalian dialect. Taking, for example, 60 Tagal words, only for 16 of them did I not find the corresponding ones in the Formosan dialects, and with the remaining 44 the one and the same root is clearly evident, and some are even identical. The dialects of the Katsausan, Bantaurang, and Pilam tribes are nearest to Tagalian.
From this I conclude that Formosa is inhabited from the Philippine islands, specifically from Luzon by Tagalian migrants.
Page 141 This migration could not be later then the first centuries of this era, when Tagalians, coming in contact with the Hindus, already stood on a certain stage of development, the traces of which are not seen on Formosa. I believe that a detailed linguistic analysis of the language of Formosans, with regards to the richness of words and grammatical construction will show the date of this migration.
I have read that in the interior of Formosa there exists a black race as well, as in the interiour of large islands of Sunda archipelago, and several Philippine (Papua Aetas) islands, which are considered aborigines of these islands; but this is probably a mistake, as neither the Chinese nor the natives know about their existence. Actually, it is quite likely that Malayans who migrated to Formosa actually did find such a people here, who then were partially destroyed in wars and partially mixed with the newcomers, producing changes in their exterior, as it may be supposed in the inhabitants of the southern part of the island.
I will consider my labor to be justified with excess if these insignificant notes would serve someone as a reference for future travel to Formosa or in any way fill in something written about it, but I repeat that only owing to the assistance of His Highness, Admiral Brummer, could I collect the data given here, and this is why I myself, as well as one whom it might serve, must be extremely thankful to him.
[title and rank] Pavel Ibis.
1. A seasonal wind prevailing in southern Asia and especially in the Indian Ocean, which during the period from April to October blows approximately from the south-west, and from October to April from the north-east, the direction being dependent upon periodic changes of temperature in the surrounding land-surfaces. The south-west or summer monsoon is commonly accompanied by heavy and continuous rainfall, and is therefore often referred to as the wet or rainy monsoon, the north-east or winter monsoon being known as the dry monsoon. - OED Online
2. Plural of anon.
3. It would appear that here Ibis is referring to the same region as in the above list, but the spelling is different in the Russian, probably due to a typo.
4. Throughout the text, Ibis uses a Russian term that indicates a specific type of boat, the closest translation for which would be "lighter". But given as the Russian term has wider currency than "lighter" in English, and also in places the same Russian designation cannot be translated as lighter (in case of "rapid boats", for example), I translated "шлюпка" as "boat" throughout. The sole places where Ibis did not use this term is in when referring to gunboat Foo-shing, and customs boats both later in the text.
5. Ságéne - Russian measure. One sagene is equivalent to 2.134 meters. The sea sagenes that are probably meant here are equivalent to 1.83 meters and may be translated as fathoms.
6. 3 Taels equal 1 f. st. or 25 franks. [Orig. footnote]
7. A small point of land running into the sea.
8. The two dates are the old and new style dates. At the time in Russia old-style (Julian) dating was used while in Europe new style (Gregorian) was in use. The Julian calendar lagged the Gregorian by 12 days in the 19th century. Presumably all dates without the parenthetical notation are given in the old-style.
9. A piece of a coarse fabric formed by plaiting rushes, sedge, straw, bast, etc., intended to lie, sit, or kneel upon, or for use as a protective covering for floors, walls, plants, etc., or in packing furniture.
10. Certainly the same mountain as Sadl, but this time printed with a double 'd'
11. The part of an embattled parapet between two embrasures; a similar structure on a battleship.
12. Fortification. A narrow vertical opening, usually widening inwards, cut in a wall or other defense, to allow of the passage of missiles.
13. Specifically, a male youngster in Russian.
14. The expression "man of the house" actually represents a single Russian word, which is particularly difficult to translate. Beside the "Head of the family" it can mean "owner", or "proprietor".
15. Latin in original.
16. Latin in original.
17. In weight.
18. The wick Ibis is referring to is probably the wick the native would use to ignite the gunpowder in the flash pan of his rifle.
19. Also a suspect rendering due to marks on copy. The first "N" seems right to me, but the second one is questionable.
20. The Russian word could mean either "draughts" ("checkers") or "sabers". If checkers is what is mean, as seems more likely, this indicates a thick disc (low cylindrical) shape.
21. The Russian word could mean "hands", "arms" or both.
22. Original title.
23. Ibis provides Latin spelling.
24. Latin in original.
25. English and italics in original.
26. English in original.
27. English and italics in original.
28. Latin in original.
29. Proper perhaps in the sense of roundness or verticality; perhaps also continuity of the walls.
30. It is possible that "close friend" could be meant as well as a relative.
31. Difference in spelling, but clearly the same place.
32. Latin in original.
33. Latin in original.
34. Latin in original.
35. Latin in original.
36. Latin in original.
37. Latin and italics in original.
38. Latin in original.
39. The romanization provided by author. Foo-shing will be used from now on.
40. Latin in original.