(Chinese, “mountaineers”), the collective name for a group of tribes living in the People’s Republic of China on the islands of Taiwan (the Atayal, Tsou, Ami, Bunun, Paiwan, and Saiset tribes) and Hungt’ou (the Yami tribe). The total population is approximately 250,000 (1967, estimate). The languages of the Kaoshan are related to the Indonesian languages. The Kaoshan have preserved their primitive beliefs and cults; they practiced skull worship in the past.

There are a number of theories on the origin of the Kaoshan. The most probable hypothesis is that they are the direct descendants of an ancient Indonesian population in southeastern China. The chief occupation of the modern Kaoshan is agriculture, primarily slash-and-burn and hoe farming (rice, sweet potatoes, bananas, taro, millet), hunting, and fishing. The Kaoshan put up a heroic resistance to the Japanese invaders (1895-1945).


Narody Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.