Les sauvages de Formose / 2015 / mixed media


July 12, 2015, I was walking among the sellers of a Parisian flea market when I found under a pile this little book The Savages of Formosa. Published in 1897, this book is part of a weekly collection of popular books for a general public, each one about a different country in the world. The author of The Savages of Formosa is Camille Imbault-Huart (1857-1897), then consul of France in Canton. This book, which is only about the aborigines, is actually from a more substantial book, The Island of Formosa, written in 1893, which is about different aspects of the island (economic, historical, cultural …). Imbault-Huart offers us a very common thought of the time, marked by colonialism and racism, thinking to be the member of a higher civilization while playing the apprentice ethnologist. Imbault-Huart died in Hong Kong at the age of 40, a few weeks before the publication of The Savages of Formosa. He is almost unknown.
Most of the documents here are from the books The Island of Formosa (1893) and The Savages of Formosa (1897).