The Continuation of Traditional Folk Culture – Fearless Tiger Gang 12 Heavenly Lords (Folkways)
By TTNews Reporter Liao, You-Sheng
TAITUNG, TAIWAN (TTNews) – The well-known Fearless Tiger Gang and its 12 Heavenly Lords Troupe certainly has always become the focus of attention.
Fearless Tiger Gang is the one and only 12 Heavenly Lords Troupe in Taitung. The organizational structure is relatively tight and solid, which is typically formed by 13 people at a time. Among that, the one holding a black prayer flag is a symbol of Jinzha the eldest prince, who is in charge of leading a bunch of heavenly lords. When he is vigorously waving his black prayer flag, that means there is a contamination need to be wiped out, so that the good fortune can come to your doorstep.
12 Heavenly Lords are distinguished from the heavenly officials and earthly officials; six are on the dragon side (right) and another six are on the tiger side (left). They generally will wear helmets, armours, Kungfu shoes and exaggeratedly colourful make-up, and hold a paper fan and their weapon. Traditionally, they will perform a series of martial and folk art dance steps. Each dance step has different meanings.
Usually their steps and movements are fairly steady, solid and powerful. They have been rigorously disciplined, and people are often fascinated by their solemn manners. In fact, most people probably don’t know that most of the troupe members are considerably young, mostly around 21 and 22. All of them are natives, but some of them are usually away studying outside the city. They traditionally will return home to take part in this grand folk festival, hoping to promote the continuation of traditional folk culture.