Saturday, July 17, 2010

LANG-DE Miao Village

生命中有许多吉光片羽,无从名之,难以归类,也不能构成什么重要意义,但它们就是在我心中萦绕不去。这些东西在那里太久了,变成像是我欠的,必须偿还,于是我只有把它们拍出来。我称它们是“最好的时光”。 ——侯孝贤

When I first saw the Miao festive clothes in the Shanghai Museum twelve years ago, I was stunned by its beauty and vowed to have my own collection one day. The dream came into being in Guizhou, the land of the Miao people.


Miao is one of 56 ethnic minorities in China, with its own language and unique culture and is best known for their exquisite clothes worn in festivals and wedding. Miao festive clothes are appealing not only because of their unique styles and craftsmanship, also because they reveal the rich Miao culture and its long history. A complete set of the Miao dress includes embroidered clothes which takes a Miao woman 1-2 year to complete and silver ornaments which weights more than 20 pounds. Silver is believed by Miao people to be the symbol of light which can dispel evil spirits.


Mountains and rivers make Miao areas difficult to access, which has lessened the impact of modern civilization and helped them to maintain old traditions. The above bridge is often seen at the entrance of any Miao village, called "the wind and rain bridge."


Walking through the bridge, let's visit the miao village LANG-DE where lives almost 500 Miao people.


A winding path leads to the serene village.


In the village we ran across a grandmother cutting hair for a little girl.


Animals in the village.





Almost every house hangs dried corns under the roof.



A venerable elder man who is a little more than 90 years old.


The climax of this trip is that we bumped into a newly-married couple returning to the home of the bride's parents. This is a folk custom in most area of China. The bridegroom is from Zhejiang Province, one thousand miles northeast of Guizhou whereas the bride is originally from the LANG-DE village. It's a marriage of a Miao girl and a Han boy.

Since it's the first time for the couple to return to the village after marriage, the bridegroom, the bride, her sister and parents are all dressed in the Miao festive clothes. Blazing with colors and silver ornaments, they are taking photos to record the happy moments. How lucky we are to share their happiness!

(With the bride (right) and her sister)

(With the bride's parents)

(With the Miao kids in the village)

Peace reigns supreme and the village folks spend all their days in an unspoiled solitude hard to imagine. Tranquility makes them reflect more deeply on life, makes them dream more. Naturally every soul in this little village in his allotted span of days has his private hopes and is torn by love and hate. Exactly what fills their minds? It is hard to say.



Photographed by Jennie Bai.

Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.

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