The Top 10 Ethnic Minority Villages in Guizhou
When you travel to Guizhou, the unique ethnic minority culture is a highlight you shouldn’t miss. Several minority villages, hidden deep in the mountains and valleys, have retained their traditional cultures and lifestyles.
In these villages, you can experience the original merchant lifestyle, visit master craftsmen, see superb handwork skills, and gain an in-depth understanding of the ethnic minorities’ cultures.
Here, we have detailed the top 10 ethnic minority villages in Guizhou for you.
1. Xijiang Miao Village — the Largest Miao Village in China
Xijiang Miao Village is also called the ‘Village of Thousands of Miao Families’, since thousands of Miao families live there.
The Miao buildings are known as ‘stilted buildings’. They are different from ordinary buildings in that one side of the main building is built on the ground and the other three sides are suspended, being supported by wooden pillars.
The buildings there are built against the mountains and the houses are reached by staircases built on the mountains. When the sky gets dark, the lights of every house are turned on and it looks as if the whole mountain has been lit up. From a distance, the village looks like a scene from a fairy tale.
Read more about Xijiang Miao Village.
2. Stone Bridge Miao Village — the ‘Village of Ancient Papermaking’
Stone Bridge Miao Village is a typical rural Miao village, which is surrounded by vast fields. Amid the beautiful natural scenery, the villagers work at sunrise and rest at sunset.
Stone Bridge Miao Village is known as the ‘Village of Ancient Papermaking’ because the villagers still practice the ancient skill of papermaking, which has lasted from the Tang Dynasty to the present day.
Walking in Stone Bridge Miao Village, you can see the detailed process used for the ancient papermaking craft, visit those who have inherited this intangible cultural heritage, and see various kinds of paper made in this way. If you are interested in paper making, you can even attend a paper craft workshop and make a piece of flower paper yourself. This kind of paper mixes flowers together to form the paper, and you can use your own creativity to make a unique piece of paper.
3. Kongbai Miao Village — the Last Silversmith Miao Village
Kongbai Miao Village is located on a hillside that’s nearly 1,000 meters above sea level. The stilted buildings there are built on the hillside, forming a harmonious landscape with the surrounding terraced fields and forests.
Kongbai Miao Village is also known as ‘The Last Silversmith Miao Village’. The silverwork industry there has lasted for hundreds of years, and almost every family there has mastered silverwork skills. The silverwork items produced in Kongbai Miao Village are famous all over China.
You can visit a local silver workshop there and ask the silversmith to make an exquisite piece of silver jewelry for you. Alternatively, just enjoy taking a walk in the village and listening to the melody of the silversmiths beating the silver to experience the different way of life in this Miao village.
Read more about silversmithing in Kongbai Miao Village.
4. Langde Miao Village — Ancient Rituals and Miao Embroidery
Langde Miao Village is the only village that performs bronze drum sacrificial ceremonies in Guizhou. During every important festival, the village holds a sacrificial ceremony. All the villagers gather in the square, where strong men beat bronze drums and respectable elders make sacrifices and pray for peace. The ceremony performances are spectacular.
Besides watching the sacrificial ceremonies, Langde Miao Village is also a good place to learn about the Miao embroidery culture. You can see the local women embroidering cloth with delicate designs in the streets. You can listen to their stories, embroider your own name on the cloth, and discover the charm of Miao embroidery.
The time of year that the Qingming Festival is held, which is usually April 4th, 5th, or 6th, is the most beautiful time in Langde Miao Village. The rapeseed flowers are in full bloom, the local girls wear their beautiful national costumes, the men play reed pipes, and the whole village is immersed in the celebrations.
Read more about Langde Miao Village.
5. Basha Miao Village — the Last Gunner Tribe in the World
This Miao village is situated in a valley in the southeast of Guizhou Province. It is home to the world's last gunner tribe and it is the only village approved by the China Ministry of Public Security for the residents to carry guns. In the past, adults in the village carried guns for hunting, but now they shoot into the sky only when they are greeting important guests or when holding celebrations.
The residents of Basha worship trees, and the greatest sacrificial ceremony carried out in this village is to worship the Tree God. Every Basha resident plants a tree during his or her lifetime and when that person dies, the tree is cut down to make a coffin.
In this village, you can see a unique style of haircut. The men there like to shave off their hair, only keeping a portion of the hair on top. The tool they use to cut their hair is a sickle, and you can see this unusual haircut being performed in the coming-of-age ceremony for Basha men.
Read more about Basha Miao Village.
6. Yintan Dong Village — Undisturbed Land of Idyllic Beauty
Yintan Dong Village is a poetic village. More than 140 fir trees grow around it so the village is hidden amid a forest of fir trees and a clear stream runs through it. Every morning, the whole village is shrouded in fog, which is a picturesque scene you will never forget.
This is an undeveloped village with few traces of commercial activity. The scenery there is pleasant, the minority’s customs are rich, and the festival activities are plentiful. During the festivals, the locals hold bullfighting contests to celebrate, and young men and women sing and swing under the trees to find partners.
Yintan Dong Village is the perfect place to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the modern cities and to find some peace of mind.
Read more about Yintan Dong Village.
7. Zhaoxing Dong Village — the Largest Dong Village in Guizhou
Zhaoxing Dong Village, located in the southeast of Guizhou Province, is the largest Dong village in Guizhou. It is one of the sub-venues of the 2018 CCTV Spring Festival Gala.
The drum tower in the village is a typical building of the Dong minority. The drum tower is used as a place for holding meetings, fetes, and entertainment activities. The most amazing feature is that no iron nails were used when building the drum tower. The only material used was wood from the trunks of fir trees, so the drum tower’s construction is very strong. The fir trees’ special antiseptic feature has kept the tower in pristine condition, without decay, for hundreds of years.
Every morning at around 8:30am, the inhabitants of Zhaoxing Dong Village hold a welcoming ceremony at the gate of the village to welcome guests from afar. About 20 Dong girls stand in a row, and each of them holds a bowl of Dong wine. Boys blow on reed pipes and dance around the guests. Every guest must drink the wine before they can enter the village.
See the top things to do in Zhaoxing Dong Village.
8. Matang Gejia Village — the World of Batik
Matang Gejia Village is a small village in Kaili. It doesn’t appear to be anything special compared with other ethnic minority villages, but the magical batik culture is hidden there.
Batik is a technique used for dyeing clothes. Wax and plants are used to color pieces of ordinary cloth. The biggest difference from chemical dyeing is that batik fabrics do not contain any harmful ingredients.
In the village, the newly dyed cloth is aired all over the courtyards. There, you can see the graceful and intricate patterns of batik fabrics, and you can also see how a piece of original fabric is transformed into colorful clothing by wax and plant pigments.
Read more about Matang Gejia Village.
9. Yaoshan Yao Village — a Mysterious Ancient Minority
The Yaoshan Yao minority is a very mysterious one, with few records about it in ancient Chinese history. But, according to historical records, many “Yao” minorities existed before the birth of the ancient Chinese dynasties. Yaoshan Yao Village is the last ‘White Pants Yao’ village in China, and it is honored as the ‘Living Fossil of Human Civilization’ by UNESCO.
In addition to its long history, the special clothing of the White Pants Yao minority is also a highlight. The women's clothes are made from two pieces of fabric, with the right and left sides cut out.
The Yaoshan Yao minority has a matriarchal society, where the women are highly respected. Unlike other ethnic minorities, the most powerful members of each family are women. In most of the families, the women work to make money while the men do the housework and take care of the children.
10. Gaodang Buyi Village — a Village Built from Stone
Gaodang Buyi Village is an authentic village belonging to the Buyi minority, where the buildings have remained almost undamaged for 600 years. Gaodang is the best-preserved Buyi village in China.
There are stone bridges, stone doors, and stone houses in this village — almost all of the buildings you can see there are built of stone. This means the architecture is very strong, and you can see ancient buildings hailing from the Ming Dynasty (about 600 years ago).
There, the cultural heritage of the Buyi minority is comprehensive and rich, and the native Buyi language status is firm, making this village a rare example to experience and study the culture of the Buyi minority.
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