Dienstag, 09. April 2019, 16:15 - 17:45 iCal

Thinking with Birds:

Ornithomancy and Indigeneity in Taiwan

SIN 1 Department of East Asian Studies
Spitalgasse, 2 Hof 2 Aufgang 2.3, 1090 Wien


Ornithomancy, divination by human observation of bird behaviour, is particularly elaborate in South-east Asia and Oceania. Taiwan’s indigenous people, parts of the Austronesian cultural world, used to look carefully at birds to anticipate future events. In the Truku and Seediq tribes, hunters observed the flight path of the sisil bird in order to predict the e in the colonial and contemporary contexts. The people no longer live in the forest. In addition, because of the prohibition of many hunting activities, the men hunt clandestinely in the night and no longer see the diurnal birds. Nonetheless, people continue to talk about the birds and they have adopted the oracle birds as national symbols of their tribes. Reflecting on

Formosan ornithomancy and ethno-ethology opens the door to discussions about bird agency as part of an entanglement of lives.


Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies


Astrid Lipinsky
Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies
Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften
4277 43844