Hualien is a county in Taiwan that has a number of indigenous tribes as its inhabitants. Because of this, shopping in Hualien mostly revolves around buying handicrafts made from aboriginal cultures. A variety of handicrafts can be seen all around Hualien city in an even greater variety of motifs. Motifs of the handicrafts are usually developed based on natural phenomena that include water, wind and even the tracks of insects and animals.
Here are some examples of handicrafts commonly seen in the Hualien region:
- Glazed beads – The Paiwan tribe sees glazed beads as a treasure for the tribe. In the past, each bead had a distinct motif that signified a related meaning. Some of these include the tears of the sun, the eye, the feather of a peacock or even a simple lily. Today, many Paiwan artists still use the same motifs to create beads, only with a more contemporary twist to the original procedure. It then makes great souvenir items for tourists to go home with and to remember their Hualien trip from.
- Woodcarvings – Tribesmen are essentially known to be skilled woodcarvers and those from Hualien do not disappoint. Woodcarvers from the East Coast indigenous region can create exceptional woodcarvings that they then sell to tourists. Up to now, some indigenous woodcarvers can even be seen looking for driftwood, which is their most popularly used raw material.
- Pottery – Aside from glazed beads, the Paiwan tribe is most famous for their pottery. In fact, legend has it that the tribe’s original ancestors were born from a ceramic vessel, which is why pottery is still seen as one of the tribe’s sacred treasures. The Amid tribe as well can produce equally astonishing pottery pieces but they only make them during significant ceremonies. You are then assured that a long history of pottery that has been past down from generations will be able to create great pottery pieces.
- Dyes – Hualien is blessed with an abundant supply of plants, which is why dyes are apparently popular in such regions as well. Dye was first introduced in many hundred-pace pit viper motifs because of their distinct colors. Today, dyes are especially used in many earthenware made by local tribes.
- Leather engraving – In the past, leather engravings were limited to caps, clothing and other practical purposes of the tribes. Nowadays, the same form of art is used to product cellphone covers, business card holders, notebooks covers, handbags, wallets, pendants and bracelets. Despite this, the same traditional culture is applied to engraving by making use of the indigenous themes of the tribesmen.
Other than shopping for the wide variety of handicrafts in Hualien, the city also has a few shopping centers tourists can visit. One of these is the shopping center found within the Parkview Hotel. Parkview Hotel is mostly renowned for being situated amidst the deep blue sea and hill ridges making it a perfect backdrop. However, the hotel offers a shopping experience as well without even having to leave the hotel itself. Of course, aboriginal crafts can be seen here as well as other local delicacies. In addition, clothes, toys, spa products and a great variety of books are available in the shopping center, making it a prime destination for shopping in Hualien.