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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Shiqiao Miao Village and the Gejia Village of Matang, China: October 17, 2019

Our first stop was at the ethnic Miao village of Shiqiao where the emphasis is on traditional methods of making paper. Today was red day so the process was extremely eye catching if you happen to see color. The Paper Mulberry has been used for paper making in China since 100 AD.

Shredding the inner bark of an indigenous Paper Mulberry 
The inner bark of the Paper Mulberry tree is shredded (along with other plants and roots), pulped and dumped into large vats where it is collected on screened molds one sheet at a time.

The wet sheets are stuck to a heated drying surface.

When sufficiently dry, corners are turned down a sheet at a time before removing and placing each on the stack of finished handmade paper. While this is handmade paper, the process was almost industrial in the method and speed of production.

We visited one of the workshop showrooms where exquisite handmade papers were folded and stacked like bolts of fabric on shelves.

It was raining when we arrived and it was raining when we moved on. Nearby a blacksmith working under a roof wasn't bothered by the downpour.

Our afternoon stop took us to Gejia Village of Matang. The Geija is an ethnic group in Guizhou. They are part of the Miao but both are recognized and have separate status. We were twice welcomed with a mandatory cup of rice wine. It was raining in this village, too, so the welcome performance was inside their small community room.

The Gejia believe they are the direct descendants of Houyi, a legendary hero, who shot the nine scorching suns in order to save his people. That legend continues in the women's intricate costumes and jewelry with each symbol having meaning. Their dress code honors the warfare of their ancestors. The sun and Houyi's arrow are represented in their headdresses.

While the men don't dress in elaborate costumes, they do provide the musical accompaniment and dance. The object in one of the dances was for the man to try and step on his partner's toes.

Left to right costume: unmarried woman, married woman, old woman
The explanation of each part of the costume was very detailed. Unfortunately, I recall only part (maybe the rice wine is to blame). The pieces dangling from the lowest medallion of the necklace signify the 18 traditional weapons. Skirts have three borders: youngest generation, middle generation, and ancestor generations.

We walked around the village for a short while photographing and looking in on batik classes.

Batik Master
Portraits of famous leaders and paintings in one of the rooms in the workshop