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liuzhou

Dong Art

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My local museum is holding a temporary exhibition of Dong Art.

 

Many of the ethnic minority Dong people (侗族 - dòngzú) in China live just to the north of here, in northern Guangxi and in Guizhou and Hunan provinces. They are largely agricultural people, some mere subsistence farmers. They are also renowned for their unique architecture, especially in bridges.

 

sanjiang1.gif

 

Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge, Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, Liuzhou Prefecture, Guangxi, China

 

Their diet consists largely of rice (glutinous and regular), fish, pork and chicken along with various green vegetables.

The art exhibition features images of daily life and, as such, there is a fair bit of eating going on. Here is a selection of pictures which have at least some culinary content.

 

IMG_8487.jpg

Beer Fish is a local specialty

 

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Picking Tea

 

IMG_8493.jpg

 

IMG_8496.jpg

 

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Community Feast - a regular occurrence.

 

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BBQ

 

IMG_1069.jpg Dinner

 

IMG_1073.jpg

Market

 

IMG_8525.jpg


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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In your sixth picture, the one depicting a banquet or restaurant with a pink floor, what are the white hats with flowers coming out of them?

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On 21/10/2015 at 4:59 PM, Lisa Shock said:

In your sixth picture, the one depicting a banquet or restaurant with a pink floor, what are the white hats with flowers coming out of them?

 

They are silver hats as traditionally worn by Dong (and some other ethnic minority, Miao, Yao) women. Today, most only wear them on festival days, but I do know a few people who wear them every day.

 

They are very heavy!

 

Here is a selfie of one young friend wearing one. (But her clothes are Miao style rather than Dong. Posted with her permission.)

8.jpg


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Those are just charming.  What is the medium?  

 

I'm not sure. I'll try to drop back in over the weekend (it's near my home, but I'll be out of town from tomorrow until Friday evening) and see if I can find out. 

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They remind me of Grandma Moses and her folk art.  Real life everyday events are shown by someone who has lived them.  Wouldn't it be fun to have a cookbook illustrated by the artwork?  Or, on a smaller scale, a calendar. 

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On 21/10/2015 at 5:59 PM, IowaDee said:

They remind me of Grandma Moses and her folk art. Real life everyday events are shown by someone who has lived them. Wouldn't it be fun to have a cookbook illustrated by the artwork? Or, on a smaller scale, a calendar.

 

I spend a lot of time with these people and see where they are coming from in their art. I even recognize some villages. The depictions of the food, although simple, is also stylized but I can guess what they are cooking or eating.

 

I like your cookbook idea. If I ever get round to investigating all the local minorities' foods and write it up, I'll look into having relevant folk art illustrations. Also the calendar suggestion. I'd hang one on my wall. But the museum is hopelessly inept at cashing in on even their most popular exhibitions, so I'm not holding my breath.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Well, I hope you are able to stir up some excitement and the museum realizes what treasures they have.  If nothing else, the artwork would make very appealing notecards.  Thanks for  sharing them here.

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1. The first photo, was there a forest fire that killed all the previous trees?

 

2. Is hat wearing really that common?

 

dcarch

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I was almost sure when I saw those pictures that Ted Harrison (a Canadian artist of some renown who died in the past year) was the artist. I knew him in the Yukon and have a number of his works on my walls. The colours, the style, the flow of the artwork are SO similar - although his tend to contain fewer people and more crows. At any rate, I am now in love with Dong art! Thank you for posting them, Liuzhou.

Great idea - the cookbook or calendar!


Edited by Deryn (log)

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all I kept thinking as I slowly scrolled was .."that is my favorite" "ok no that is my favorite" "ok really now THAT one is my favorite" ..and then I looked again! thanks for sharing! 

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What are the people doing in the last picture? Are they all   Dong? Is Dong food "hot" or "spicy"? I was particularly pleased to see the painting of the tea harvest :smile:  :wub:  :wub:                                            

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On 21/10/2015 at 1:19 AM, Naftal said:

What are the people doing in the last picture? Are they all   Dong? Is Dong food "hot" or "spicy"? I was particularly pleased to see the painting of the tea harvest :smile:  :wub:  :wub:

 

The last picture also shows the tea harvest. Yes, going by the clothes, they all appear to be Dong people.

 

Dong food does tend to be spicy. The areas of China where most live (Guizhou, Hunan, Guangxi border areas) are known for spicy food - often more so than Sichuan.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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This is so interesting that I had to explore the culture more via Google.  The amazing head dresses are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wearing silver.  They seem to be true artists in many ways including metalworking. I can see why it is a destination for tourists for both the food and the culture.  

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As usual, thanks for posting some more stuff from China, really fascinating.

 

 

 

Teo

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And they remind me of Rie Munoz - a very popular Alaskan artist:

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=rie+munoz+prints&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CEsQ7AlqFQoTCP2ixOHf1MgCFRPNYwodx0cN_w&biw=1008&bih=584&dpr=0.95

Liuzhou - are all the prints you posted from the same artist?  Or is that just a common style of the culture's artwork?

 

And, in the "BBQ" scene, I notice that the things waiting to be cooked - the fish and chicken - seem to have white things that look like ribbons or strips of cloth coming out from underneath them.  Is that just a design, or does it depict some particular wrapping or method of cooking?

 

Finally - let me add my profound thanks to you for taking the time to post these.  You never fail to inform, intrigue, educate, entertain.  We're really lucky to have you here.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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On 21/10/2015 at 7:52 AM, Jaymes said:

Liuzhou - are all the prints you posted from the same artist?  Or is that just a common style of the culture's artwork?

 

And, in the "BBQ" scene, I notice that the things waiting to be cooked - the fish and chicken - seem to have white things that look like ribbons or strips of cloth coming out from underneath them.  Is that just a design, or does it depict some particular wrapping or method of cooking?

 

Finally - let me add my profound thanks to you for taking the time to post these.  You never fail to inform, intrigue, educate, entertain.  We're really lucky to have you here.

 

Thank you for your kind words.

 

The pictures are by various artists in the typical style of the culture.

 

The white strips are either just decoration or, I think, perhaps meant to represent paper or cloth to rest the food items on prior to cooking, rather than have them directly on the ground. The two fish the people are holding have no strips and I can't think of any cooking method or wrapping that it may be.


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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James and liuzhou,

 

There are four paintings that depict something cooking over a fire. In all but the first, there are stylized streamers rising from the cooking food. The one immediately after the BBQ painting in question has very large curly pastel streamers, maybe standing for complex tantalizing smells? What if the chicken and fish at the BBQ are not on the ground, but suspended on sticks above the fire? Maybe the streamers represent steam and/or aromas rising from the cooking food?

 

And liuzhou, count me among the many who appreciate your fascinating contributions.

 

Edit: change it to if


Edited by Thanks for the Crepes (log)
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James and liuzhou,

 

There are four paintings that depict something cooking over a fire. In all but the first, there are stylized streamers rising from the cooking food. The one immediately after the BBQ painting in question has very large curly pastel streamers, maybe standing for complex tantalizing smells? What if the chicken and fish at the BBQ are not on the ground, but suspended on sticks above the fire? Maybe the streamers represent steam and/or aromas rising from the cooking food?

 

And liuzhou, count me among the many who appreciate your fascinating contributions.

Yes, that would make sense.

Thanks.

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On 21/10/2015 at 6:33 AM, IowaDee said:

This is so interesting that I had to explore the culture more via Google.  The amazing head dresses are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wearing silver.  They seem to be true artists in many ways including metalworking. I can see why it is a destination for tourists for both the food and the culture.

 

Indeed the silver work goes far beyond the head dresses, but they are perhaps the most visible. Here are a couple more pictures of the head dresses, one showing the detail of the craftsmanship that goes into them.

 

IMG_1038.jpg

IMG_1047.jpg

 

Their houses and bridges are amazing, too. The bridge pictured above is, apart from the supporting pillars, made entirely of wood without a single nail. As are the houses. When I'm in Sanjiang, I regularly stay in a totally wooden hotel, where Mrs Wu, half of the couple who run it, cooks local food for guests for next to nothing. I've been going there for 18 years now. What she does with fish is a dream.

 

I am privileged to be able to live and work here.

 

I will put together something more about Dong food, but it may take a week or two. It is, as I said, relatively simple food, but quite different from what most people think of as "Chinese" food. It is largely vegetable based, with fish, pork, chicken or duck only making occasional appearances, usually at festivals, banquets or other celebratory meals. They also preserve a lot of food, so pickles are common. Although there are a few specifically Dong dishes, the overall cuisine shares much with the other ethnic minorities of southern China, particularly in its use of glutinous rice.

 

It is certainly a largely undocumented cuisine. There is little information available in any language.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Thanks for the info, the headdresses are certainly unique and beautiful. It would be interesting to learn more about these people and their food.

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Liuzhou- It is always a delight to read your posts. I learn sooo much from them. The oil tea is a fascinating dish!

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In the third art image, are the bags on the tray steaming above the fire, and if so, what is being cooked in there? Also, the woman with the goldenrod colored bag has something between her feet, can you tell what that is supposed to symbolize?

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