Paiwan Linked Drinking Cup

Tags: aborigine | Paiwan | utensil

The linked drinking cup is unique to the Paiwan tribe and is referred to as “Ragal” in the Paiwan language. It comes in single cup, double cup and triple cup forms. The double and triple linked drinking cups evolved from the single drinking cup. Although the double drinking cup is the most common, there are restrictions to its use.


Such cups were used for drinking liquor. Two square-shaped caps are joined together by shaft that allows two persons to drink simultaneously, one using the right hand and the other using the left hand. Large ones measured between 14 and 17 centimeters and small ones between 6.8 and 10 centimeters, with many reaching 11 centimeters. Average depth is between 3.3 and 7 centimeters. Most cups can hold about 300cc of liquid (Chen, 1992).

Joint drinking cups were mostly used during wedding banquets or ceremonies. Carved patterns included human heads, human figures, hundred pace pit vipers, deer heads, pig heads and hunting rifles, etc.

This object is an example of one of the earliest types of single cups. It measures 27 centimeters in length and 7.5 centimeters in height. It is hexagonal in shape.

Other indigenous tribes such as the Atayal, Saisiyat and Tsou also had the custom of two persons drinking together. However, they did not use a joint drinking cup like that of the Paiwan. Rather both people drank from one cup. This represented a high honor given to a guest by a host.


Department of Graphic Communications and Digital Publishing, Shih Hsin University Digital archiving project of the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines