Alibangbang (Flying Fish) Tau is a tribe of Taiwanese indigenous people that live in the southeastern offshore island of Orchid Island. It is a subgroup of Austronesian people that is widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and Pacific. However, Tau people believe that they are the descendents of Rock and Bamboo. The wordTau means people.
Every Spring, alibangbang (flying fish) follows warm Kuroshio Current (Black Stream) to the shores of Orchid Island. Tau people believe that alibangbang lives with the Gods, and is sent to the Earth by the Gods as a gift to them. Therefore, harvesting and consumption of alibangbang has to follow very sacred and complex ceremonies that are guided by their own Night Calendar that follows the phase changes of the moon.
From early March till mid-September, Alibangbang provides the main source of meat in the year to the Tau people. After this period, non-consumed fish has to be discarded. Different types of alibangbang have different uses. Some are suitable for old people, some are good to the small children. Therefore, a Tau fisherman has to catch different types of alibangbang to meet the needs of the family instead of getting only the easy catch. The whole system of harvesting and consumption ensures the sustainability of the ecosystem.
In this design, alibangbang flies over the water surface where the Tau fishermen wait for their arrival. The circular symbol shown in the design is normally painted on the sides of the hand-made Tau fishing boat. The triangles around the circle are the sun rays that deter bad spirits away, and the innermost circle is the eye of the boat that guides the fisherman away from the dangers in the ocean.