A total of 16 special mailboxes painted with symbols and images from Taiwan's 16 indigenous tribes were unveiled Saturday at the PHILATAIPEI 2016 World Stamp Championship Exhibition in Taipei, the first time the stamp exhibition is held here.
Each mailbox features the unique culture of one of Taiwan's indigenous tribes, giving visitors to the exhibition a chance to learn more about the island's earliest known settlers, according to Chunghwa Post Co., Taiwan's official postal service.
Chunghwa Post is hosting this year's exhibition, which is being held in Taiwan for the first time and coincides with the company's 120th anniversary.
"Showcasing each tribe's different cultures and rituals, the mailboxes portray the uniqueness of each indigenous tribe," said Lavuras Matilin, an artist of the Paiwan tribe who created the special mailboxes.
Noting that each of the tribes has its own language, social system and clothing, he said that his designs were aimed at depicting the unique elements of each tribe.
"It took about two months to design and paint the mailboxes," Matilin told reporters.
Along with Matilin, the mailboxes were unveiled by Chunghwa Post Chairman Ong Wen-chyi (???), indigenous lawmakers Chien Tung-ming (???) and Jeng Tian-tsair (???), among others.
"I'm very pleased to attend the event," said Chien of the Paiwan tribe.
Showcasing stories behind each of the indigenous tribes, the mailboxes will help promote tribal culture, he said.
Noting that the special mailboxes will be displayed at the indigenous tribes' villages after the exhibition ends, Chien said they can also help promote tourism in those areas and bolster the local economy.
"The public is welcome to visit the tribes to find the mailboxes," he said.
Echoing Chien's remarks, Jeng of the Amis tribe expressed hope that people will not only visit the exhibition to see the special mailboxes, but also travel to tribal communities to learn more about indigenous cultures.
The best way to extend support to the indigenous people is to visit their tribes to experience first-hand their cultures, Ong said.
"We really love indigenous people, who are the most valuable asset of Taiwan," said Ong, a driving force for the indigenous mailboxes.
As of August 2016, there were more than 550,000 indigenous people in Taiwan, accounting for about 2.3 percent of the country's population of over 23 million, according to government figures.
A total of 130 national postal services, stamp dealers and collectors have set up booths at Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1, where the exhibition will run until Oct. 26.
With this year's theme being "Legacy and Innovation," the exhibition details postal history and traditions, as well as modern-day transformation and potential future developments of postal services.
In addition to displaying stamps from 101 countries, the exhibition also features augmented reality stamps, animation, virtual reality and other audio-visual elements.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel