Xiaoqikong waterfalls by Rita Willaert

Xiaoqikong between Guangxi and Libo

Waterfalls and karst landscape …

China, Guizhou province, Southwest China, Xiaoqikong, Minorities, handicraft, embroidery, tribes, ricefields,

When talking about Guizhou, it is the famous Huangguoshu Falls that immediately come in people’s mind. However, there is still a must-go attraction in Guizhou: Seven Small Arches (Xiaoqikong), which is not familiar to people, even some locals.
Located at Wang Meng Township, Libo County in Guizhou Province, Xiaoqikong scenic spot covers an area of 10 square kilometers, and known for its delicate, beautiful, quiet. The United Nations Organization expert groups had once visited Xiaoqikong and regarded it as “the world’s last emeralds on the same latitude”.
There are 68 drops of waterfalls on the Xiangshui River, which is extremely rare in China. Cascading waterfalls run down along the river, wrapped around rocks, trees, forming beautiful and delicate landscape volumes.…

Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, located in south-central Guizhou Province, is inhabited by more than 37 ethnic groups, including Han, Miao, Buyi, Shui and Yao. It boasts a lot of karst stone forests, canyons, primitive forests, waterfalls and many other unique natural scenic spots. Its charming waters and mountains together with strong ethnic minorities’ flavors make this region greatly attractive.

The scenic area boasts boundless mountains, crystal creeks, cascading waterfalls, various plants and animals. Xiaoqikong Yuanyang (mandarin duck) Lake Scenic Spot is the only aquatic forest in Karst landscape at that latitude in the world, where grow over 10 kinds of precious trees.

The Sinicization of Southern China

The Ethnic Makeup of Southern Chinese:

Genetics is very complicated to explain, especially on Tumblr. However, I will simplify it:

Southern Chinese has a mix DNA of Northern Chinese DNA, but Northern Chinese do not have a Southern Chinese DNA. Southern Han Chinese bear a high resemblance to Northern Han male linage.

Southern Chinese have the maternal ethnic Southern Chinese DNA, and the paternal Northern Han Chinese DNA.

After the establishment of the Zhou Dynasty of 1,000 BCE in the Yellow River (Today around Beijing), the Han Chinese declared that they were the Middle Kingdom, and that everyone North, West, South and East were all considered barbarians and needed to “assimilate” into Han Chinese culture.

Assimilation, War and Genocide:

Thus began 3,000 years of Northern Han Chinese expansion, conquering, assimilation and ethnic and cultural genocide. The campaign was known as the “Cooked and the Raw”. Those who were to assimilate into the Northern Han Chinese, were the cooked, and those who have not yet assimilated were the raw.

They banned people speaking their native languages, wearing native clothes, burned their books and banned them from learning to read or write their native alphabets.

In order to “Sinicize” the population, they went to war with ethnic populations, established Northern Han Chinese garrisons (Which today many still exist and are still being inhabited by Northern Han Chinese in provinces like Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan and Northern Vietnam). After many of the men died in war, they encouraged the local women to marry Chinese men. They enslaved and castrated boys to become eunuchs for the Chinese emperors, thus further increasing “Northern Han” linage among the Southern Chinese.

Throughout 3,000 years of persecution and assimilation, it would greatly influence the cultures of Southern Chinese, Korea, Vietnam and Japan, and bring an extinction to many other native cultures, including now the ethnic aboriginal Taiwanese and Tibetans.

Language vs Dialect:

When people think of “Chinese”, they think of the Han Chinese ethnicity, the speakers of Mandarin, Cantonese, Teochow, Wu and so on.

But what makes Chinese languages so different is that those languages are considered “Dialects” of the Chinese language, but not their own languages.

A Cantonese person will not be able to mutually understand a person who is speaking Mandarin, as a person who speaks Wu will not be able to understand a person speaking Teochow. They come from the same language family group, but are not “dialects” to one another.

It is the same concept of the Romance Languages. A French person will not be able to understand a Spaniard, as to an Italian will not understand a Romanian.

During the 1600’s-1800’s, the Ming and Qing Dynasty began to expand their borders southward and westward, now integrating ethnic cultures into China, which today many speaks a dialect of West or Southwest Mandarin Chinese as common language to communicate with their 21st century conquerers, but many still retain to speak their native languages.

How did Hakka, Teochow, Cantonese and several other Chinese languages become known as a “Dialect” in China?

“A Language is a Dialect with an Army and a Navy” - Max Weinreich

That being said, those languages are considered “dialects” of Chinese, because they have the social, political and military power to say so. It is a political tool to nationalize the “Han Chinese”. It is the same concept Hitler did to unite all German speakers and to unite the “Aryan Nationality” against Jews, Gypsies and non-Whites.


The procession continues with LJS 197, fols. 6v-9r.

LJS 197 contains a series of pictographs with each page divided into 3 rows of cells, ruled in ink. They operated as prompts for chants performed from memory by a priest (tombra or dongba) at funeral ceremonies. This manuscript was written in southwest China in the late 19th or early 20th century.

First post in the procession series:

Stay tuned next week for the following few openings!

Manuscript description and digital images (if you want to peek ahead) can be found on OPenn;

The Asian Spirit World in the Modern World

A long time ago, the world was one. Even the sky and earth lived as one. Humans, Spirits and Animals could talk freely to one another and lived in peace.

One day, humans began to become greedy. They hunted and ate the animals, and the animals left to the jungle, swearing never to speak to humans again. Humans began to become sick, so they expelled the spirits to the Underworld, Forest, Mountains and Rivers, and Humans became healthy again. Humans became corrupted, and began to build swords and arrows against one another, that the sky began to rise higher and higher, that no arrow can touch them.

And because of Humans, the world was split between the Sky, Earth, Sea and Underworld, with Animals and Spirits banished to the Mountains, River and Forest.

  • The World Above 天: The world of the gods. Sky.
  • The Middle World 土: The world of humans, animals and spirits resides and co-exist. Earth.
  • The World Below 下: The world of malevolent spirits and dragons inside the earth, that also includes the ocean depths. Underworld.

  • The Yang 陽 World: The World of Humans, Nature and Animals. Land of the Living.
  • The Yin 陰 World: The World of Spirits. They differ as River/Sea spirits, Forest Spirits or Mountain/Earth Spirits. Some are considered good, neutral and evil. Land of the Spirits.

  • The Spirit World: A world known to be dark, mountainous and rocky, where it can be reached in a cave tunnel by physical or spiritual form, with a river splitting the Yin and the Yang World apart. A bridge exist where humans & spirits can communicate, and on the bridge is a marketplace, where humans & spirits cannot tell each other apart. It is also where the ‘God of Judging the Dead’ lives, where he oversees who is worthy of passing into the “gates” to reunite with their ancestors and judges where they reincarnate into either a human, animal or plant.

And once a month in the late-Summer, does the Spirit World opens up, and the “Ghost Month” begins, when ghost and spirits come to the Human World.

Happy Ghost Month!

Sounds of the Street

Continuing with our series of content related to our forthcoming Music Issue, we offer a sneak peek preview of some of the street musicians we interviewed for our Street Dreamers cover story. 

Street music does not have quite the same cachet in China as it does in many other parts of the world. There are limitations on where street musicians can play and whether they can take money from passersby. They are often treated with disdain, viewed as beggars rather than legitimate performers, in part a prolonged hangover from the days of the Cultural Revolution, when musical composition and performance were severely restricted.

Yet despite the difficulties, there are people across China playing for anyone who cares to lend an ear. Others are playing for themselves, just chasing the music as a form of catharsis. Still others hope to be picked up and fast-tracked to fame and success, and some have long since abandoned those dreams, happy just to earn a few kuai selling CDs each day.

Their motivations are entirely different, but they are united by a love for music and the desire for the freedom that comes with playing outside. We hit the streets to find their stories, moving from stellar success and lighthearted disillusionment in Beijing, through poets and “guerrilla musicians in Chongqing and Chengdu, and back to the wanderers who just keep moving, across China or overseas to the subways of New York. Here we feature recordings of and partial interviews with three of the musicians we found in Beijing, as well as a video of fantastically talented violinist Chen Cong. Make sure you pick up a copy of the Music Issue or a subscription from our store to read their full stories and those of the other artists we interviewed, including the infamous “Xidan Girl” and the street musicians playing the streets of Chengdu and Chongqing.

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