Certificate accredits A-mo as the Local Headman of various aboriginal villages issued by the Chu-lo County Magistrate, 1715

Certificate accredits A-mo as the Local Headman of various aboriginal villages issued by the Chu-lo County Magistrate, 1715

National Treasure

National Treasure Intro

This certificate is a document from the Lahodobool community of the Pazeh people in the central area of Taiwan. It is now stored in National Taiwan Museum. It is the earliest existing warrant appointing an indigenous leader, and a precious historical document for studying the history of Han-indigenous relations and the development of central Taiwan during the Qing dynasty. It was designated as a national treasure in 2010.

The word “Lahodobool” first appeared in Zhou Zhongxuan’s Zhuluo County Gazetteer. The passage stated that, “the Lahodobool savages” lived in the village community between the two mountains of Shalu and Niuma In Yu Yonghe’s writing, the same “savages” are “fully covered by tattoos on their body and face, looking odd in the extreme and like a devil.” They were known for abrupt raids and killing, and were one of the indigenous groups that the Qing government found difficult to control and manage.

In 1699, when the Qing government was unable to quell the Tunxiaoshe Incident, the officials adopted the idea of recruiting the Lahodobool people, for they could swiftly move in the mountains and carry out sieges. So they gave Amok, the head of the Lahodobool community, money and treasure to fight for the Qing dynasty. The Lahodobool community showed great strength in the battles, making the Qing dynasty recognize them as an indispensable fighting force controlling Taiwan. In 1715, the Qing dynasty further recruited indigenous communities such as Annei and Lalusai, and appointed Amok as the headman of all the tribes to act as a liaison with official. The appointment resulted in the allegiance of the five communities (Lahodobool, Lalusai, Saosu, Wuniunan and Puzaili) and the transformation of their identity from “raw” to “cooked” savages, which were terms the Qing dynasty used to denote the extent to which indigenous people had assimilated into Han culture. Although the indigenous groups were formally affiliated to the Qing dynasty, in practice there were not under strict control.

The Qing dynasty’s policy of recruitment was a turning point for the Lahodobool people, where they started to be recorded in official documents. The Lahodobool troops were often the officials’ first option when a major incident of civil unrest broke out. As a reward, they were constantly granted with land by the Qing dynasty. During the Qianlong period, Dunzai, the third generation headman, was given the Chinese surname “Pan” and appointed as an “interpreter,” which, from the perspective of the Qing dynasty, marked his transition in status from a submissive “raw savage” to a cooperative “official savage.”

National Treasure Appreciation

The official relationship between the Lahodobool and the Qing dynasty began in 1715 when chief Amok was appointed as a local headman. The event was also a result of the Qing dynasty’s policy of assimilation.
According to an official letter in 1716 sent by Gioroi Mamboo, the Governor of Fujian and Zhejiang, a total of 422 households and 3,368 indigenous people from the five communities of Lahodobool, Lalusai, Saosu, Wuniutan and Puzaili in northern and southern Taiwan would submit to the Qing government as “cooked savages.”

Zhou Zhongxuan, the governor of Zhuluo County, was the local official to implement this project, who soon faced the problem of managing these people.

The fact that people from the five communities were “innocent and unorganized, without proper supervision,” and that the villages and communities had no affiliation made it difficult for the Qing government to rule.

For the sake of administrative convenience, Zhou Zhongxuan followed the policy that was used by the Dutch colonialists to “select native headmen as a matter of course, and let him take charge of the affairs of the communities.” The Qing local government would issue a letter of authority to the headman, and the number of headmen depended on the scale of the communities.


    1. Inō Kanori, “Indigenous People in the Old Government: How to Manage the Indigenous People.” Taiwan Association Bulletin, No.82: 1905, pp. 18-20.
    2. Awa Kikusaburo, “The Rise and Fall of the Lahodobool.” Taiwan Local Government, No.1:3, 1935, pp, 73-78.
    3. Chen Chiu-Kun, Indigenous Land Rights in Taiwan in the Qing Dynasty: Bureaucrats, Han Tenants, and the Land Changes of the Lahodobool. Taipei: Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, 1994.
    4. Hung Li-wan, The Pingbu Tribe in Central Taiwan: Research on the Papora people and the Anli Society. Taipei: Daw Shiang Publishing, 1997.
    5. Yao Chia-Yin, “Looking at the Religion of the Lahodobool People from the Perspective of History: Focusing on the Christian Conversations in the Puli Ai-Lan Area.” MA Thesis, National Chengchi University, 2008.
    6. Ka Chih-Ming, Cultivated Aborigines and the Unruled Hans: Governance Deployment and Contentious Politics in Qing Taiwan. Taipei: National Taiwan University Press, 2021.


The National Taiwan Museum (NTM) is the oldest museum in Taiwan, it was formerly known as the Taiwan Governor Museum, which was established in 1908. The artefacts on display were broadly divided into history, anthropology, “south China and south seas policy,” flora and fauna, and mineralogy. Before WWII, there were nearly 10,000 pieces in the museum’s collection; after Japan was defeated in WWII, the administration of the museum was transferred to the Republic of China, and was later renamed Taiwan Provincial Museum. In 1999, due to the Taiwan Provincial Government Restructuring, the management of the museum was transferred to the Ministry of Culture, and renamed NTM.

The NTM inherits the collection of the Taiwan Governor Museum during the Japanese rule, and has accumulated over 120,000 items, including historical materials, indigenous artefacts, flora and fauna, and geological specimens of Taiwan. These items provide a window for the public to learn more about the history of Taiwan. These items have also been digitized and can be seen at “National Taiwan Museum Digital Archive Information System.”

In addition to the rich collection of artefacts related to history, culture, flora and fauna located at the main site of the NTM, the Land Bank Exhibition Hall of the NTM(Natural History Branch) also has a paleontological exhibition, the Nanmen branch of NTM presents the glory days of Taiwan’s camphor industry, and the Railway Department Park at NTM presents the history of Taiwan’s railways and the trajectory of Taiwan’s modern development.