Bai nationality tie-dyeing, an art of Dali

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It is unilateral and superficial to observe the life of a minority, to understand their history, and to record it in a very short time. But in this fast food era, there is no time, those ancient traditions, mellow folklore, and rustic craft. . All of these will be lost without a trace as the time goes. Perhaps, images would be the best way record and retain these treasures.

Paid a visit to the households in the hundreds years of mansion in Dali Zhoucheng.

We didn’t know each other for the language barrier. The grandmother was calmly peeling corn. Waves of outsiders come to explore and disturb the quiet life here. Maybe she had used to the lens of tourists.

This is the grandmother's daughter-in-law, who was busy with dressing herself.

Black braids, some of which were wig, at the end to help with the red hair band.

I shot her at one side, but she asked me not to shoot because she hasn’t dress well. She said most of the girls next generation of them were no longer comb hair like this. 

Bai's hair ornaments

I was interested in the Bai’s dress

First, fixed at the back and turn around. She completed combing the long hair in a very short time, amazing.

She was plating hair carefully, which inspired me a new definition for beauty.

The stuff on the hair maybe worthless, even if they were a pile of glass, plastic or other cheap things, but when people give it some special meaning, they would be fresh and natural immediately.

The watch on her hand was that kind of late 1980s style.

It was really a waste of time to make the tedious hair ornaments. I could imaged that some of the Bai women long time before got up early in the morning every day, dressed up, made breakfast for the whole family and made cattle food, and then went to work. . . how can they do it, I wonder.

finished plating hair

She picked up the tie-dyeing in the hands, dismantling while quietly talking about her family. Her children did not go to high school when finished junior middle school, and they also didn’t want to stay at home to do the tie-dyeing, because there is too much trouble to do the tie-dyeing, and time-consuming, too inexpensive, cannot make money. They would like to work in the city. She was some frustrated when talking about these things. The tie-dyeing was fundamental to their generations to survive. But come to the present material society, the tie-dyeing becomes worthless. The young no longer be willing to accept the tie-dyeing expect the elder people continue to do the tie-dyeing.

This is a real hand-made tie-dyeing. It gave me the visual sense as a bundle of some strange cloth when I had not learned to tie-dye myself. But after going to the tie-dye factory and do it yourself, when I looked at this cloth again, it was no longer strange, it was great.

Thought this cloth was not a piece of large one, it couldn’t be made in just one day.

This was the results of bleaching and dying with radix isatidis. We all joked that the clothes made of the cloth had a preventive effect of cold. Ah, not so exaggerated, but the look well fabrics made of chemicals couldn’t compared with the Bai’s tie-dyeing.

Relief on the roof of the old house watched and recorded the joys and sorrows of people’s life silently.

How much have they bear?

Xizhou Bai Minority Village:

Yan's Compound of Bai Minority in Xizhou:

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