The Wind and Rain Bridge
I love the minority tribes of China for their culture and quaint traditions , their innate hospitality and good nature.
The Dong Tribe is famous for their woodwork, their magnificient Wind and Rain Bridge is constructed without the use of a single nail .
It was the Dong tradition to leave clothing and shoes at the ends of the bridge , so any weary travellers who might be down on their luck could change their ragged clothes for the newer ones before going on their way. On the way back after making their fortune they're expected to leave a new set of clothing and shoes for the next travellers.
This tradition was in the same spirit as the Han Chinese saying " Travelling together through Wind and Rain ", exhorting all of us to help each other as we travel through the ups and downs of life's journey .
I thought it was such a heart warming tradition and was sad that the practice was discontinued after the Communist take-over.
Photos : Dressed up in Dong clothing to please the lady of the house ( they're her clothes ) ; the Dance troup in the " Third of March Song Festival "
The minority tribe Miao doesn't have a written language, so there's a dire need to record their traditional music before it's all lost .One summer some years ago, I accompanied a music professor from Nanning University ( he was of the Dong tribe himself ) to collect the music in Guangxi . Armed with only the professor's old battered recorder, we ventured deep into the mountains . After several days of rocky paths and hairpin trails, we reached a remote village far from the beaten track .
After ascertaining the purpose of our visit , the girls readily performed for us the welcome song , the wedding song .........then just as dusk fell , they suddenly launched into the " ghost song ", to appease the spirits of the night .
Such was the reality of tribal living in the mountains, it was not romantic or idyllic as the novellists would have us believe, but harsh and fraught with anxiety and fears . Unseen evils and dangers could be lurking inches away in the dark .