EnRoute to Somewhere

Posts Tagged ‘China’

Naxi Moon and Stars

Bai Beauty

SHANGRI LA. CHINA. 2016

The sun descends slowly behind a Naxi woman in Shangri La. Wearing stars and the moon is the general motif of a Naxi woman’s traditional dress: wide-sleeved loose gowns, blue or purple waistcoats, red caps, woolen sweaters, and long black trousers with seven round circles and vertical ears on the sheepskin cape to represent seven stars. 

The Naxis consider love as the ultimate reality. If a couple in love can’t stay together, they will die for love. On their final night in this body, they buy the best wine and food, put on their best clothes, choose a nice place to spend their last hours, most often somewhere on the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and dance all night long. Then they step hand in hand onto the road which leads to the Paradise of Love to sublimate their lives by love. 

Tune of the Erhu

Playing the Erhu

DALI. CHINA. 2015

It has been raining. The cobblestoned streets are dull, almost empty for China, and there’s a heavy unease in the air. Tunes float out of pastry shops where women crush rose petals and fill cookie dough balls with the same to bake flower pastries which they will sell for 10 kuai each, a perfect warm thing to eat on cold Yunnan days. It is January 2016 in the Yunnan Province in China. People walk by without a word, for such is China and its people: reserved, closed, bubbled, alone. No one talks to strangers. No one smiles at a foreigner. Everyone is alone within their aloneness. Everyone is busy going nowhere. A man plays a melancholic tune on his Erhu, an instrument also called the Chinese fiddle and originating in the Tang Dynasty. He’s an unrealized consciousness bringing us all together. He’s the inconceivable instrument of advaita on these cold windy streets of Dali, who cracks open, albeit slightly, the souls of everyone who walks past him.

Sun Squatting

Dirt and Happy

XIHOU. CHINA. 2016

En route to the Tibetan Songzalin Monastery on the outskirts of the Tibetan Village of Shangri La, past a tiny, dusty road that passes through the village of Xihou, it is -4C, the wind is biting cold, and small cakes of snow outline the desolate road. No one passes by from here except an occasional monk from the monastery. Here, little kids squat under the sun, quietly, staring out into the vast open space in front of them. They are curious as I take a photo, a girl hides behind the boy in order to not be captured (as is typical in the Yunnan Province of China) while the other two burst into laughter.

Shades of Blue

Shades of Blue

BAISHA. CHINA. 2016

A stroll outside the colorful, Naxi village of Baisha, toward the homes of the Bai people and away from the crowd of visitors, there is peace and a quiet diatone. Unlike on the visitor filled streets of Baisha where the sun shines, brining out the colors of the village and the tie-and-dye masterpieces hung out to dry, the sun doesn’t shine so brightly here, letting the calming shades of blue spread a calming innervation.


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