Since I saw how Basha people shave their heads, I want to visit these “barbarians” and the last tribe of gunmen. On December 15th, 6 days before of the doomsday, we packed and delved into their mysterious kingdom. It took us 14 hours on the road from Kali to Basha and back to Kali. Though we only stayed for 5 hours in Basha Miao Village, it enriched our life and turned out to be a very refreshing experience.
When passed along Congjiang County, we witnessed their beautiful Drum Tower. By far, it is the highest Drum Tower of Dong Nationality. (Height: 46.8m Stories: 29 Area: 470m2) It is said not a single rivet or snail is used during the process.
Before we arrived, Basha men were busy with repair their houses, plowing and split the firewood while women were engaged with cooking, dying clothes and take care of children. When inquisitive outsiders like us pop up into their world, they will dress up and greet us with guns, rice wines and dances.
Basha is a total different world, so different that I cannot help observing with big eyes and open mouth. For a moment, i had an illusion that I have taken a journey backward to time, to an ancient world only exists in legend and history book.
Over 2000 people live in this village, most of them bearing the surname of “Gun” (which means “Rolling” or “Go to Hell”). “Basha” means lush in Miao language, here, men hunt and woman weave. This lifestyle is rare-seen in China now. They cherish simple faith and adorn God of Sun and trees. Basha men carry their guns all lifelong, which are indispensable part of their lives. When I saw their hairs, I struggled so hard to control laughing. Secretly, I think they are very cool equipped with guns.
To we “civilized” outsiders, their hairs look kind of ridiculous, but to them, it is a sign of masculinity. Each Basha man will go through a Come of Age Ritual to have such a holy hairstyle, which is the most ancient hairstyles in China, and people call it “the living fossil”.
In Basha Miao Village, you can feel their pride, strength and culture. Generally speaking, Basha boy will receive the Come of Age Ceremony during 16-year-old. Except wearing the unique hairstyle called Hugun(only the middle strands of hairs are left for braids), he will be bestowed with a gun passed down from generation to generation. Since then, he will be viewed as an adult and is allowed to find a girlfriend.
Underdeveloped this village is, it is full of life and character. Living in mountains, Basha people are profound, introverted, sedate and brave. You can perceive the strong affinity between them.
Basha people deem the trees are the souls of their ancestors, thus, they should be awed and protected. When a baby is born, a tree will be planted in the forest. When he or she died, this tree will be cut, and another tree will be planted on his grave to symbolize the circle of life.
The colorful ribbons known as “Lovesick Ribbons” come from girls, the more one Basha man has, the more admirers he owns
Basha man will carry seven things all the time: guns, wine bottle, curved knife, tobacco pipe, gunpowder contained within guard-shaped container, wallet and flower bag. With these things, he will win the heart of Basha lady.
Men here are not tall, but they are brave and confident. Clad with home-made attires, they are kings in the unassuming land.
Actually, there are not so many animals to hunt here. Thus, guns are often used for greeting guests.
Basha people are good at expressing love and seeking love. Sings and dances are used to find soul mates here
Basha young men compete with each other with for the love of girls
Among all the Basha people, the 45-year-old gunmen Gun Laguo grabbed our attention, who was kind enough to invite us to his home. We were shocked to see how simple his home is. The TV placed on a wooden barren is the only modern furniture in their home. His father was sitting near the fire, smiling to us. Gun Xiangla, his 5-year-old son, is a very skilled gunman already. Thus, he is the apple in his father’s eye. Gun Nuli, Gun Xiangla’s 12-year-old daughter, is a talented dancer.
Gun Laguo told us, he has been a gunman for 39 years, and they live such a life since thousands of years ago. They live on cultivating rice. Thanks to the local government, who will give each family 1000RMB per month as subsidiary, thus their lives have improved a lot.
To meet our curiosity, Gun Laguo modeled for us during the Shave Show
Under the guide of his father, the 5-year-old Gun Xiangla is an excellent gunman now
Gun Xiangla’s family preserve food by pots. Their pickled vegetables and chili are mouth-watering and appetizing.
Basha woman uses egg white to dye fabrics, which will result in natural glamour and enduring color
The tank used for dye clothes
In the afternoon, we had to take the van and left this village, little Gun Xiangla saw us off from the balcony.