Zhaoxing Dong Village - A fascinating & quaint countryside village in Liping County, Guizhou, China.

Zhaoxing Dong Village - A fascinating & quaint countryside village in Liping County, Guizhou, China.

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Good day to all travelers, photographers and friends around the world. Welcome to Chris Lee’s Travel Channel. Wish you all in good health! It is being a year since I launched this Travel Channel.

For 52 weeks with more than 52 videos have been up-loaded, and I am pleased that I have kept to my promise of at least 1 episode of my travel per week. I would like to take this golden opportunity to thank all my viewers, travelers and photographers who have been constantly giving me the support and encouragement, particularly to Mr. Bernard and Mr. Mah. Further to my last week episode, in today episode, which is the 7th episode of my travel journey to Guizhou Province (贵州省) of China, I am sharing with you of my walk-round scenes of this awesome and fascinating ZhaoXing Dong Village (肇兴侗寨) from dawn to dusk. Thereafter, I will share with you images of the Cultural Performance of “Chorus of Dong people” in the second half of this episode. Please stay tuned till the end.

The area coloured in red in this Map of China is the whereabout of Guizhou Province. In this Guizhou map, the location of QianDongNan Miao & Dong Autonomous Prefecture ( 黔东南苗族侗族自治州) is being highlighted in yellow colour. Zhaoxing Dong Village is located in Liping County (黎平县). If you are first time log into my Travel Channel, and you want to have a better understanding of Guizhou Province and the ethnic minorities cultures, customs and traditions, please view the last 6 episodes of my journey to Guizhou.

It is important to note that, my Guizhou’s journey took place in the year 2011, thus all images in this travelogue are of 10 years old. Viewers are reminded that the present conditions of these villages and living standards of villagers could be different from my travelogue’s images. In Liping County, beside Zhaoxing Dong village, there are many smaller Dong villages as can be seen in this Tourist Map. Now, let take a good look at this Zhaoxing Village’s map. You should be able to spot the river that flows through the village and the 5 “nos. of Wind & Rain Bridges” as well as the 5 nos. of Drum towers

Let begin our exploration of this lively and yet cultures filled Dong village from dawn to dusk. Dong ladies and women are usually dressed in skirts or trousers with beautifully embroidered hems. Women wrap their legs and heads with scarves, and set their hair in coil shape or style as seen in this image and next image This image was taken in the early hour of the day next to the main street. Old and young were found sitting at the rows of steps in front of the shop houses.

The surrounding mountains views at the eastern side of the village. At about 8am in the morning, the main street started getting very busy with many passing by vehicles. Villagers, young and old also getting out of their houses and gather around their houses or shops. Mobile stalls selling fresh vegetable, fruits and meats also being set up at alleys just next to the main street.

Farmers or traders from afar will gather at this main village by whatever means and ways. This lady seen to has a flatted tyre in the early morning. For Shop owners, they will start clearing and cleaning the front section of their shops, in preparation for the day business.

Whether you are self-employed, farmers or civil servants, all got to get ready for works. Beautiful and peaceful scenes along the streets next to the river. Villagers going to their farmlands in the early morning. This couple is tobacco leaves trader.

you can find more traders going to the market place in the morning. River is always the lifeline of human settlements, whether in the past, present or future. Along the river, it is where some of daily activities are being carried out by the village’s folks.

and also the best place to capture the local life-style, such as the washing of clothes or any items that required to be cleaned. Can you tell what this guy is washing? Let look at the basket behind him? What do you see? Some villagers will then let free of their domesticated animals and let them roam around looking for their foods along the river banks, as can be seen in this image. At about 9am in the morning, shops start to open for business. You could spot many women working on their needle works in front of their houses or shops.

For some, selling their harvested crops a day before. You can find many male villagers which are mainly artisans. They display their hand-made products for sale at shop’s corridors. You can find many of them are of old age. While some of them will just sit there lazing off their time Late in the afternoon, villagers start coming back from their farm works. Carried with them are either the harvest of the day or weeds /grass (cleared from the farm).

Weeds are used to feed the domesticated animals such as buffalo. For the harvests, they may need to be cleaned. in this image, the lady is washing the fresh vegetable just harvested from the farm using the river water, in preparation for the next day sale at the market place.

Just before the dinner or after dinner, more villagers were found sitting just right in front of the houses and having a quality time with family members. They either chit-chat or playing with their children or grand-children. And the men were found mostly sit on the rows of benches along the streets or in the Wind & Rain bridges having a “Talk 3 Talk 4” session with other male villagers.

Or just sitting alone along the covered corridors in front of their shops or houses. Some will prefer having a game of chess (just for example) with friends. For some taking a leisure evening walk. As for kids, most of them, the time for them is free and easy.

So, the fun time is the whole day. I found these 2 kids from the same family were washing their shoes after school. Have you realise the clothing that worn by the villagers are mostly of black colour? Most of these clothing or clothes are home-made clothes. I spotted this young lady dying her home-made clothes in her (house’s) courtyard. After the cloth was dyed, of course in black colour, It then undergo a drying process under the sun, then also undergo the process of continuously ramming or hammering with wooden hammer over thousands of time, In this image, I want you to pay attention to the floor. This is actually a gravel-paved floor.

Can you see the pattern that being set on this gravel-paved floor? You can find these beautifully patterned paved floors around the village and almost at every corners. This lady now is using a wooden hammer hammering the dyed dried up cloth. The support is a stone slab or stone block.

My wife was curious enough and she wanted to try, and the lady, the villager stood behind her possibly thinking "You guys possibly thinking this is an easy task, and you want to try." "Well! Fine! I want to see how long can you last?" and possibly she had a smile in her heart. Now before that, if any viewer know the purpose of the hammering or ramming process in this cloth making, use by the Dong ethnic minority, I will be much pleased or appreciated if you could provide me some feedback on the comment column below. During our day of visit, we encountered 2 major events took place.

Firstly, there was a wedding procession The procession members first gathered at one of the Wind & Rain Bridges before heading to the bride’s home. and carried with them were wedding presents or betrothal gifts. In this image, you notice the lady was laughing and looking up at the sky. She possibly, was so excited, after realised there were so many cameramen were taking picture of her. She possibly thinking "Well! I am going to get famous soon!".

Before the procession start, they start to form a line. A man, the young man there was preparing the firecrackers. Once the procession started, the firecrackers will then set off and will blast, and hope to last until they reached the bride’s home.

On the same day, we also encountered with a funerary event. This funerary event is just like the Han’s custom, At the entrance of the decease’s house was placed white paper couplet around the external face of the door. The funerary event usually took the whole day, In the morning, it is where they bring the coffin, the deceased to the final place of rest, While In the afternoon, after the funeral procession, a funeral reception was then held at the deceased’s home for the mourners or visiting guests. In this image, you can see the deceased’s family members or helpers were preparing the meal for their guests. The attire of the mourners or visiting guests are usually in black (colour), and they worn a white cloth on their heads and this white cloth is then reach all the way down till the ground level.

as can be seen in this image. Each mourner or visiting guest, when they leave the funeral home, they were given a piece of meat (usually pork) to take home. As this Dong village have no entertainment outlets and no street light. When night fall, the whole village will be pitch dark. After dinner, most villagers preferred to stay at home and go to bed early.

Furthermore, their occupations are mainly farmers. They need to get up early the next day, This image and next few images are the evening scenes around the village. Finally, the night fall.

The street scene at night, with only few shops still open for business. I am grad that we have come to the second part of this travelogue, that is the Dong Cultural Performance – Grand Song of Dong People. This show was rated First in the 13th CCTV Youth Singing Competition.

The Dong ethnic minority is stand out among many ethnic minorities found in China for its songs and singing skill. They always believed that songs are a way to remember and appreciate their origins. As they do not have a written language not until 1958.

Before 1958, their stories have been preserved through the use of song and passed down from generation to generation. Dong ‘Grand Songs’ or “Da Ge” in Chinese are some of the most dynamic songs in Chinese Folk Music and a distinctive form of artistic expression in China. Performed mainly without any help of musical instruments.

Beside this, the ‘Grand Song’ is performed by a large group of people without a conductor. The song can be solo or chorus with multiple voice parts; with graceful melody and free rhythm, or sometimes calm and fluent, and sometimes smart and bold. The ‘Grand Songs’ not only a folk music but also the cultural symbol of the Dong ethnic minority group. They are the “stories” of the Dong culture. For this reason, the Grand Song also being called 'An Encyclopaedia of Dong Social Customs'.

Today, Grand Songs remains a crucial symbol of Dong ethnic identity and cultural heritage and forming an intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is a specially arranged Cultural Show – “The Chorus of Dong People” for visiting guests of Zhaoxing Village (肇兴侗寨). Visitors should not miss the opportunities of witnessing this awesome cultural show. The Grand Songs are usually performed formally in the drum tower, the landmark venue for rituals, entertainment and meetings.

It was an hour plus long Cultural Show or folk performance with songs and dances by the villagers. The show normally ended with an all-in dance event, whereby the guests will be invited to join in the circle dance with the performers. What a great ending for the Show. One of lady performers, was a young mother.

We managed to have a group photo with her and her child. Lastly, in this travelogue, Iwould like to share some of the photographs taken in the from of streets’ abstracts which I Iike most. Photographers, if you are observant enough, you should be able to capture some very interesting images, in any trip. This photo shows the dried tobacco leaves. Finally, here come the end of 7th episode of my journey to Guizhou and hoped you have been entertained. If you like my Travel Channel, please support by subscribing, sharing and liked.

A thumb-up from you is very important to me. I take this opportunity to thank you in advance for supporting this Travel Channel. Just a Preview of the 8th episode, I will bring you to two more traditional Dong villages located in very scenic valleys not far from Zhaoxing village, and a historical street dominated by Dong minority in the Liping County. Please stay tuned. Before I end, I would like to wish you all good health! Please stay safe and stay strong! See you next week! BYE!

2021-09-30 06:31

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