Basha is a very special and old Miao ethnic village, and is virtually untouched by modernization. Basha residents still live in their wooden houses, practice centuries-old customs and have their own unique beliefs.
The village is perched on a hill 7.5 kilometers from Congjiang. Legend says that the ancient ancestors of Basha immigrated from heartland China to this isolated mountainous region over 2,000 years ago.
The village has a multitude of Diaojiaolou (a traditional Miao structure built on wooden stakes). When seen from afar, the village looks like it has layer upon layer of moss-covered bark roofs.
Scattered around the village’s open spaces and hillside is another wooden structure, commonly called a “raft”. These are used to dry unhusked rice. Do not be alarmed, as the Basha are the only tribe allowed to carry guns.
Visitors to Basha are greeted frequently outside the village in the traditional manner by a group of Basha men carrying long rifles. Please do not be frightened! They are just locals practicing a traditional welcoming ceremony.
Like men of the Imperial dynasties, most Basha men still wear their hair long. As little children, Basha boys, like girls, keep their hair long until they are 16 years old. The Adult Ceremony is held when a boy becomes a man, and he is allowed to decide whether to keep his long hair. The Adult Ceremony is held and a young man's head is either shaved or kept, and then twisted and coiled atop his head.
Around the Basha Village are many large, tall trees. Like many other tribes that take an animal or material as their totem, the Basha worship trees. On important occasions or during traditional festivals, villagers usually burn incense under large, ancient trees as a prayer for heath and happiness.
The Basha also plant a tree on the birth of a baby. Often, the tree is cut down to make a coffin when that person dies.
The people of Basha have maintained their unique code of dress, which dates back to the Qin Dynasty. Basha men usually wear a collarless coat with buttons on the left side or down the front and baggy short trousers. Basha men do not usually wear shoes, even in the cold winter. Women's clothing is more colorful. A coat buttoned down the front, a kilt and more colorful wrappings are the usual attire for women.