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Summit explores ways to preserve traditional villages

Updated: 2015-11-30 08:02:35

( China Daily )

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Qiandongnan's Xijiang village, the country's largest ethnic Miao community. WANG KAIHAO/CHINA DAILY

It is like taking a walk back in time. Women from the Dong ethnic group in the 800-year-old Huanggang village are dyeing shiny traditional clothes used during festivals.

Asked how much they cost, they look puzzled. "I am not sure," one woman says.

"Usually, we don't sell them. But if someone visiting the village gets along really well with us, we'd rather give them as a gift."

It takes half a year to make each piece.

For us, visitors, the village of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture in Gui-zhou province feels like utopia.

The village is one among those being slowly opened up for tourism.

The wooden cabins in the village are still constructed the old way: No bricks or nails.

The Grand Song of the Dong People, a music genre which has become popular worldwide in recent years, resounds in the air.

Older residents gather around a bonfire in a drum tower in the center of the village to discuss upcoming rituals.

"Decisions about major events like rituals and celebrations are still made in the drum towers rather than by village commissions (the executive body in China's villages)," 62-year-old Lu Genmao, one of the nine patriarchs in charge of the drum tower, says.

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