Weaving traditions

by AZ on Thursday, 01 October 2009 Comments
Outside the house, an older duangong creates a ritual field that extends the protection of the spirits of the mountain, water, heaven and earth on the surroundings. Such a ritual acquires even more meaning after the ordeal of the earthquake, which destroyed the old house.

The methods of divination used to predict the fate of the house and its inhabitants are directly borrowed from the Han: Qiang religion blends elements of animist and Taoist influences. Its pantheon includes Han deities. And the short interlude performed with masks, through which neighbours convey their wishes to the master of the household, reminds one of scenes from the Sichuan opera. But the dance of the two duangong and their assistant speaks of beliefs rooted into the familiar forces of the mountain, of the sky nearby, of the water roaring in the deep valleys - beliefs and rituals of a mountain people ... The embroidery of the dance displays its patterns on the boundless canvass of the cosmos, allowing Man to dwell harmoniously in its midst.

"I am a Qiang" ... Slowly overcoming the trauma of the earthquake, recording its memories and beliefs into songs, rituals and cloth patterns, mixing and weaving the various traditions that travel along its mountainous corridors, the Qiang people still surreptitiously embroiders its own history on the fringes of the Chinese Empire ...

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