Cultural Shock in Matang Gejia Village

In April 15, 2012, we departed from Shibing in the morning and reached Kali, the capital of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture in the noon. Long trip spent in the road was followed by the famous local dishes such as Soup Fish Soup. After a big feast, our guide arranged a van to take us to Matang Gejia Village.

Approaching this village, we were impressed by the peach blossoms and the buffalos roaring around.

Gejia people claim to be the descendants of Houyi, an ancient hero who shoot down 9 suns according to Chinese mythology. For the sake of convenience, some “experts” group them into a tributary of Miao Nationality since they are neighbors, at least geographically. For these experts, the most award thing is that both Gejia people and Miao people deny this. By now, Gejia people are still “outcasts” who fail to gain recognition from the government as an independent nationality. Maybe things will change in the future, and I will applaud to their deserved identity. Gejia people inherit and stick to their culture and lifestyles which are subjects of great interests for outsiders like us.

Upon arrival, we found ourselves surrounded by several local women who displayed the most exquisite silver jewelries and batik artworks to us. I bought one batik handicraft, which was really a bargain.

Under the lead of our guide, we stepped into a  Gejia woman’s home. She was drawing the patterns for batik artworks.  In no time, this woman finished several patterns, without using any drafts. We were impressed by her outstanding skill. Upon request, we practiced designing pattern, it turned out to be both interesting and challenging.

After that, we visited another local’s home, where we were shocked by Gejia people’s costumes. Three traits differentiate their attires from other nationalities in the world: First, Gejia women’s headgears are fashioned after the scene “Hou Yi Shooting the Sun”. It consists of silver circle, red trim, and silver hairpin. Looked from above, it resembles a sun which dashes out thousands of rays, with the silver hairpin mimicking Hou Yi’s arrow and the silver circle Hou Yi’s bow.

Second: Gejia women are equipped from head to toe by several layers of clothes. In front of and back of them, there are four pieces of armors respectively. Wrapped up so tightly, we can say the mosquitoes here will be pissed off and seek for other source of food and maybe evolve into a new species.

Third: Gejia women wear heavy silver jewelries resemble blades and hammers, which weigh from 6kg to 8kg. Gejia women really dress to kill. Years of practice will prepare them as excellent weight-lifters hopefully. Unsatisfied with just appreciating these beautiful clothes, I begged the owner to lend me one set of outfit, but it turned out to be time-consuming and in no time I regretted to do so. It took 15 minutes to dress up like a Gejia girl and here goes the process: pleated dress—“apron” embroidered with dragons and phoenix— long sleeve robe—the 8 pieces of armors, 4 in front and 4 in the back—-three pieces of “aprons”. One is black, the other two are sparkling—the square scarf—the orange belt—wear silver headgears. The toughest section is to wrap the foot with ribbons. Pleasing to the eye, these red ribbons make walking a difficult task.

Despite of the trouble of putting on their clothes, it was very memorable. Because we joined the Charming Guizhou Tour , we have the privilege to enjoy their original flavor performance. Though not trendy or flashy, these signings are really special and touching. It reminds me of Kam Grand Choirs, the heavenly voice of Dong Nationality.

During the stay, i also captured their daily activities, here go the photos:

Despite of her age, this grandmother is very healthy and agile. We asked her the secrets, and she attributed it to the protection of Hou Yi, their Mighty ancestor, somehow the counterpart of the Creator. It is no secret that people live in mountainous areas tend to live longer, unlike we city dwellers, imprison ourselves into little rooms in the urban jungle and poison ourselves with various processed foods.

Visit this village, one must-eat is their snack named Ciba, which is made from glutinous rice and wrapped up with fragrant leaves. Sweet and kind of stingy, it is really a nice treat.

A married woman visits her parents

During dawn, we had to leave this village, and Gejia people saw us off with the melodious songs. Casting an eye backward to it, I scanned the people and place, trying to preserve in the deep of my memory.

About Sweetsophia

Hi, this is Sophia from absolutechinatours, glad to explore this country with you. I am here, sharing, listening and enjoying. Contact me by : Skype: sweetsophia123
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