Photo Essay

Visit to the Gelao Minority Village

Visiting the Gelao family

Guizhou province is home to many different minorities. People from throughout China come to see the beautiful Flowery Miao, the short-skirt Miao, the horned Miao, the singing of the Dong, and the ancient culture of the Tunpu culture. One group gets overlooked and almost forgotten, often lumped together with the Miao, the Gelao. They are a very old minority dating back over 2,100 years, and mainly live as farmers in small villages. They grow lots of corn and rice and are incredibly hospitable (common among many countryside people in China).

I have visited several of the Miao and Dong villagers to see lusheng playing, dancing, singing, and lots of demonstrations of the culture, but have never visited the Gelao. I love the countryside and seeing the true life of the countryside, so this was quite an amazing opportunity. It was a rather cold day, but the hearts of the people and their love and joy to see visitors was quite warming.

In one village, a family welcomed us inside to show us the traditional clothing and we saw the steps to getting dressed up for festivals. It took nearly 30 minutes to put on all of the clothing, pull the hair very tight (the older women almost look bald on the side from this practice each day), and putting on the head wear. Then the family went and brought out the jewelry. It was amazing works of silver that seemed to be the prized possession of the family.

Here is a look inside of the villages and at the clothing. Hope you enjoy a small glimpse into the culture and Gelao Villages. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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1 response

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (15 Jul 2010):

    Delightful shots and very interesting reading...

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