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In Pictures: China's Yao community
Women from the Yao ethnic minority in China's south cut their dark hair only once in a lifetime.
Last updated: 12 Feb 2014 15:36
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Guangxi, China - About 400 ethnic Yao live in Huangluo village, a mountainous and remote place that was nearly unreachable until 2002 - when China's government launched a "tourism reform" programme.

Yao women are well known for their colourful traditional dresses decorated with bright embroidery. They use wooden looms to weave their clothes, and it can take up to three months to finish a traditional costume.

Growing their dark hair long is a tradition here, with some women's locks almost two metres in length. Yao girls cut their hair only once in their lives between the ages of 16 and 18. It's difficult to trace the origins of the practice, but women here say long hair is the symbol of long life and prosperity. Unmarried women can't show their hair in public, so they cover their heads with a black turban.

Pan Dexiu becomes shy when asked about her age, saying it is "inappropriate" to pose such questions to single girls. Pan hosts a daily show that Yao women perform for tourists at the village. Women sing traditional Yao songs and dance to the music that entertains as well as explains the history of their people. 

Today, there are about 2.6 million ethnic Yao living in China's southern provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, and Guangdong. Their living conditions have changed greatly after the tourism reform brought development and attracted visitors from around the world.


/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Yao women often wear traditional clothes of bright red colours, decorated with embroidery, along with silver earrings and necklaces.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Yao people have unique cultural characteristics - from the tradition for women to wear long hair to lengths of almost two metres to spiritual beliefs passed through generations by word of mouth.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Older generations of the community mostly speak the Yao dialect, and many don't understand Mandarin.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Along with songs and dances, the show performed at the village tells the story of the Yao people and their history that spans hundreds of years.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Despite performances not drawing huge crowds, they serve the purpose of educating visitors about the customs of indigenous people.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Women use fermented rice water to wash their hair, saying the technique makes follicles soft and lustrous.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Long hair is a symbol of long life and prosperity for the Yao.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

After the age of 60, women here are not supposed to wear bright colours, so they exchange their red and pink jackets for black clothing.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

It takes up to three months to make the whole traditional costume using wooden looms.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera
Women sell their skillfully handcrafted jackets, scarves and bags.


/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

The village is located amid the picturesque Longji terraced rice fields, over which hangs a thick fog in the wintertime.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Pork, home grown rice, corn and peppers are daily staples in Yao cuisine.




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images:
/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810414487965_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810414753634_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810415456969_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810416128639_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810416378415_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810416643120_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810416925476_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810417206318_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810417487421_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810417800890_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/2014281041818700_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/8/20142810418190831_8.jpg
captions:

Yao women often wear traditional clothes of bright red colours, decorated with embroidery, along with silver earrings and necklaces.

;*;

Yao people have unique cultural characteristics - from the tradition for women to wear long hair to lengths of almost two metres to spiritual beliefs passed through generations by word of mouth.

;*;

Older generations of the community mostly speak the Yao dialect, and many don(***)t understand Mandarin.

;*;

Along with songs and dances, the show performed at the village tells the story of the Yao people and their history that spans hundreds of years.

;*;

Despite performances not drawing huge crowds, they serve the purpose of educating visitors about the customs of indigenous people.

;*;

Women use fermented rice water to wash their hair, saying the technique makes follicles soft and lustrous.

;*;

Long hair is a symbol of long life and prosperity for the Yao.

;*;

After the age of 60, women here are not supposed to wear bright colours, so they exchange their red and pink jackets for black clothing.

;*;

It takes up to three months to make the whole traditional costume using wooden looms.

;*;Women sell their skillfully handcrafted jackets, scarves and bags.;*;

The village is located amid the picturesque Longji terraced rice fields, over which hangs a thick fog in the wintertime.

;*;

Pork, home grown rice, corn and peppers are daily staples in Yao cuisine.

Daylife ID:
c6c35ad460dcbf8cd8993997874c3a3a
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
China's Yao peoplehttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_peopleen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Sat, 08 Feb 2014 09:59:14 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/93461ebec38ae1f327a3ef8c443221cb

Yao women wear traditional clothes of bright red colors decorated with embroidery along with silver earrings, necklace and earrings.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/93461ebec38ae1f327a3ef8c443221cbAndrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Yao women wear traditional clothes of bright red colors decorated with embroidery along with silver earrings, necklace and earrings.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/6872e315c8e8ede49345b33c62648aa0

Red Yao people have unique cultural characteristics from the tradition to wear long, almost 2 meters, hair for women to beliefs passed through generations by word of mouth.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/6872e315c8e8ede49345b33c62648aa0Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Red Yao people have unique cultural characteristics from the tradition to wear long, almost 2 meters, hair for women to beliefs passed through generations by word of mouth.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/d5ad736f0a95b8546786f3db0cbd4d0b

Older generations mostly speak Yao dialect and don't understand Mandarin.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/d5ad736f0a95b8546786f3db0cbd4d0bAndrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Older generations mostly speak Yao dialect and don't understand Mandarin.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/ba27160e554f2c00c1ba1c71edb125a8

Along with songs and dances, the show performed at the village tells the story of Yao people, their history that spans hundreds of years.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/ba27160e554f2c00c1ba1c71edb125a8Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Along with songs and dances, the show performed at the village tells the story of Yao people, their history that spans hundreds of years.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/5631c6a24c9c822bcdfdb5fd5819aac5

Despite that performance doesn't gather crowds of spectators, it's very entertaining and makes you understand better the customs of indigenous people.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/5631c6a24c9c822bcdfdb5fd5819aac5Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Despite that performance doesn't gather crowds of spectators, it's very entertaining and makes you understand better the customs of indigenous people.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/3db8c03d550be3f382069a9dc04a434b

Women use fermented rice water to wash their hair that makes it soft and lustrous.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/3db8c03d550be3f382069a9dc04a434bAndrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Women use fermented rice water to wash their hair that makes it soft and lustrous.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/d163651b32648c6226f40be3ba76a1f5

The long hair for Yao is the symbol of 'long life' and 'prosperity'.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/d163651b32648c6226f40be3ba76a1f5Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

The long hair for Yao is the symbol of 'long life' and 'prosperity'.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/13d5ca086de060d59d2a0f7d501168c2

After 60, women are not supposed to wear bright colors, so they change their red and pink jackets to black ones.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/13d5ca086de060d59d2a0f7d501168c2Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

After 60, women are not supposed to wear bright colors, so they change their red and pink jackets to black ones.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/e8b56c906b4c3bcaf16577317ab4c6c1

Red Yao women use wooden sewing machines to make clothes, it takes up to three months to make the whole traditional costume.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/e8b56c906b4c3bcaf16577317ab4c6c1Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Red Yao women use wooden sewing machines to make clothes, it takes up to three months to make the whole traditional costume.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/c64eb7ab1e34e1b2c6078ee8364a3269

Women sell their skillfully handcrafted jackets, scarves and bags.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/c64eb7ab1e34e1b2c6078ee8364a3269Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Women sell their skillfully handcrafted jackets, scarves and bags.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/5cfb56661a05145f3b85b63be82c88dd

The village is located up the picturesque Longji Terraced rice fields that are suspended with fog in the wintertime.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/5cfb56661a05145f3b85b63be82c88ddAndrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

The village is located up the picturesque Longji Terraced rice fields that are suspended with fog in the wintertime.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/2c48adba4ba267615b352a2876d1862a

Pork, home grown rice, corn, and peppers is the staple part of the Yao's daily ration.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/China%27s_Yao_people/slideshow/no-caption/2c48adba4ba267615b352a2876d1862aAndrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Pork, home grown rice, corn, and peppers is the staple part of the Yao's daily ration.



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