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Storyboards: Palau's Unique Cultural Canvas

Step into the captivating realm of Palauan storytelling with "storyboards," an exceptional art form that brings ancient legends to life on intricately carved wooden slabs. This remarkable cultural treasure, now intertwined with Palau's identity, has found a place not just in the hearts of the Palauan people but also in the thriving tourism industry. Every storyboard is a work of art that tells a story, making it a cherished souvenir of your adventure with Soultrips.


Palau's "Airport Art" – Where Legends Come to Life

As tourism flourished across the Pacific, local handicrafts, including storyboards, became a vital source of income for islanders. Today, these captivating storyboards are readily available at airport shops throughout Micronesia. An interesting facet of this art form is its unique presence at the local jail, where inmates have mastered the skill of carving storyboards. Some of these boards, often playfully referred to as "porno boards," intricately emphasize the sexual aspects of the ancient legends they depict.


Preserving the Legacy of Tradition

While tourists may appreciate these storyboards as modern interpretations of traditional tales, the deep-seated history embedded within these carvings may elude them. Storyboards have their origins in the beams and gables of "bai," the traditional men's clubhouses central to Palauan society. Thanks to Hisataku Hijikata, a Japanese artist and folklorist, these timeless stories transitioned from being closely guarded secrets to public treasures.


A Legacy of Legends: Passed Down Through Generations

These storyboards are not just works of art; they carry the weight of history with every carving representing a story from Palauan parables and legends. However, it's important to note that the legendary Hisataku Hijikata taught only around twenty of the several hundred stories depicted on beams to his students. These stories were carefully passed down through generations, ensuring that Palau's rich cultural heritage remains vibrant and alive.


A Post-War Evolution – Artistry Meets Innovation

The most significant changes in the style and quality of storyboards unfolded after World War II when the American administration recognized their commercial potential. This period saw a proliferation of carvers, each experimenting with different styles to cater to evolving market preferences. Storyboards evolved, with some preferring painted versions, while others embraced deeply carved, unpainted boards that resonated with Americans.


Uncover Legends Told Through Storyboards

Below are just a few of the many fascinating legends that you’ll find carved on storyboards when you visit the skilled craftsmen in Palau:

The Monster of Chelechui

Immerse yourself in the tale of a serpent that terrorized the village of Chelechui. Explore how the clever young man in this legend used hot stones to defeat the menacing creature, leaving behind a pile of stones as a testament to the victory.

Surech and Dulei 

Follow the captivating story of forbidden love between Dulei and Surech, two young lovers from rival villages. Their secret meetings in the jungle, a hatchet, and the beautiful Surech play central roles in this emotionally charged legend.

Mesumch e Dmanges (Goodbye and Follow)

Delve into a story of suspicion, deception, and clever revenge. As two friends fish together, a web of secrets and suspicions unfolds, leading to a twist that will leave you astounded.

The Breadfruit Tree (Ngibtal)

Join the demigoddess Milad on a journey of food, jealousy, and divine retribution. The underwater island that remains submerged below the water serves as a reminder of this epic tale.


Explore Palau's History and Culture with SoulTrips

SoulTrips invites you to embark on a journey through the enigmatic legends and rich culture of Palau through these captivating storyboards. Each storyboard is a masterpiece, intricately crafted to breathe life into stories that have been passed down through generations. Let these legendary storyboards be your gateway to Palau's vibrant history and culture, a testament to the timeless stories that shape this incredible nation.


Experience the Tales of Palau with SoulTrips.


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Join us on an extraordinary adventure to explore this natural treasure trove and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Palau. Explore Palau with SoulTrips

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