Faces of Chong’an Market

 Guizhou Province 贵州省 Map

Faces of Chong’an Market is a continuation of a post from a few months ago. While the previous post focused on the market at Chong’an and the ambience, these photos focus on the the people. I hope you enjoy them.

Chong'an Market local men watching the world go by
Chong’an Market local men watching the world go by.

Faces of Chong’an Market / 重安市场的本地人

Faces of Chong’an Market is a selection of photos taken at the bustling market of Chong’an held once every five days.

Miao Ladies buying hats

Aesthetically, Chong’an won’t win any prizes, and you definately won’t find it in any China photo book on a coffee table. However, you will encounter an incredible number of archetypal Chinese characters that appear to have leapt straight out of an ancient classic Chinese novel. The pipe smoking men with wispy beards and the colourful minority women in local dress are the stars of the show at Chong’an.

Faces of Chong'an Market Pipe Smoker
Lighting up and having a smoke

Chong’an is small scruffy rural town not too far from the vibrant city of vibrant Kaili. It’s buildings are more than dilapidated and somewhat even Dickensian. 

However, that is not to say it is not without its own charm and the minorities, principally, Miao and Gejia; the latter being a sub-group of the Miao, really compensate for the architectual horrors.

Faces of Chong'an Market Miao lady Shopping in the muddy streets
Miao lady Shopping in the muddy streets

The surrounding countryside, on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. Meandering rivers and verdant hills dotted with pretty  minority villages are within easy walking distance of  the town.

Faces of Chong'an Market trap seller
Business seems slow for the fish trap seller

Faces of Chong’an Market: Taking the Photos

I used up two roles of film at Chong’an and Margie another one. I suppose if I had had a digital camera I would have taken even more photos.

Faces of Chong'an Market Gejia Lady inspecting the produce
Gejia Lady inspecting the produce

I still have some qualms with digital photography. I feel that when you knew you had to pay for developing your pictures, you spent more time framing them better .

Faces of Chong'an Market
Happy shopper

The photos of the I took at Chong’an were taken on a pretty bog standard camera. Nevertheless, I really love these photos and they continue to give me joy when I go back and look at them.

Cupping while shopping Faces of Chong'an Market
A little bit of Cupping while shopping

The market goers appeared relaxed when I was taking a photo. I would raise my camera and ask Keyi 可以 (can I)?  Nobody ever objected. Even when I was taking the photos of the clients undergoing cupping treatment (these photos), they just smiled and encouraged me to take the photos.

Continue reading “Faces of Chong’an Market”

Which Minority? Can you help?

Which Minority? Can you help?

Jianshui 建水Yunnan Province:

Do you recognise this minority?

Which Ethnic Minority?

Jianshui 建水  2006 This photo was taken in 2006 in Jianshui, Yunnan province from the top of the city gate. I have been trying to work out which ethnic minority this lady belongs to for a while now. My guess is that she is from the Yi Minority 彝族, but there are also Miao苗族, Hani哈尼族 and Yao瑶族 minorities in the vicinity of Jianshui. If anyone else can be more precise I’d be grateful.


Click here for our article on Jianshui

Laomeng Market Jinping Yunnan

For an updated and complete version of Laomeng Market with new photos please click here:

Laomeng Market (Jinping, Yunnan Province)

The hotel owner in Yuanyang had told us to get there early, as many of the hill tribe people have to walk all the way back and the market starts breaking up at around noon.

First to Arrive

So we got to Laomeng at about 8:30, where we were among the first to arrive. We walked once round the town and had a look at the few stalls already set up by a small number of colourfully dressed Miao ladies and some older Yi women. Most of them seemed as curious about us, as we were about them. By the time we got back to our starting point, dozens of vans, carts and other vehicles had already arrived, unloading hundreds of passengers and all kinds of goods.

a kaleidoscopic mix of colours

They brought with them a kaleidoscopic mix of colours, as ladies from the Hani, Yao, Yi, Miao and Black Thai ethnic groups spilled out from the back and descended upon the market for a few hours of frenzied buying and selling.

For the next 3 hours we were treated to a visual feast that left us drained and out of film. Our driver had filled us in on some of the intricacies of the local costumes, so we were more or less able to distinguish between the women from the different ethnic groups.

Miao Fruit Sellers
Miao Fruit Sellers

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Rice Terraces / 远阳梯田 As they were in 2006

would- be professional photographers descend upon this remote town

During the first two or three months of every year, thousands of professional and would- be professional photographers descend upon this remote town in Yunnan province to take photos of one of nature’s most beautiful phenomena, the changing of winter to spring on some of the most spectacular rice terraces in the world.

At this time, the paddies are full of water, and their beauty is enhanced by the shifting contrasts of light and rolling mists that provide stunning vistas. At sunrise and sunset the water in the paddies can take on a myriad of colours, ranging from an eerie blue, to pink, yellow and bright red, thus providing the perfect hunting ground for those in search of the ultimate shot.

Unfortunately, our work schedule left us with no choice but to visit Yuanyang in summer, when the terraces have taken on a bright emerald hue, but are devoid of water. They are still an awesome sight, especially at dawn, but they are no match for those glossy photos, adorning the multiple coffee-table books and postcards that you can find all over town. The locals, who seem to be fairly obsessed with rice paddy viewing, constantly remind us that this is the wrong time to visit and insist that we should come again in February, to see the real thing!

The most popular terrace viewing points

Longshubao: particularly recommended for
Continue reading “Yuanyang Rice Terraces”