Sandu and Shiqiao Villages, Danzhai County, Guizhou
Sandu is the China's only autonomous region for the Shui people. The Shui people are the descendants of the Luoyue people, one of the ancient tribes living in Danzhai County, Guizhout. Shui means water in Chinese, wherefore, the Shui people refer to people living along the waterside. The Shui People gained their name because they mainly dwell along the rivers and streams; their living customs, worship, and folklores, all revolve around water. In 1956, they were formally named Shui Ethnic Minority.
The traditional houses of the Shui people are of "pile dwelling" architecture constructed from fir and pine wood and covered by fir bark or tiles. There are usually two or three stories, with fowls sheltered under the house and people living upstairs. The number of the rooms is one, three, five, or seven; it's considered taboo to have even numbers. Men mostly wear blue or green clothes, with cloth-wrapped buttons down the front. Cotton is the mostly used fabric. They also wear a blue or black turban around the head, and baggy trousers. Women often wrap their head with a turban, and usually arrange their long hair in a bun, and insert a comb in it. They wear a collarless gown reaching to the knees, with colors including blue, green and gray, and also a long embroidered apron. On festive occasions, women wear a variety of solver earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
The village of Shiqiao, is famous for its Miao paper making, an important craft for the group. Shiqiao paper is smooth, white, and difficult of bursting. It is said that the paper making in Shiqiao Miao village has a history of over 1,000 years. By using the Han Chinese people's experience, the local Miao people use high-quality spring water, tree roots and bark to make papers. Their craft of papermaking is regarded as a “live fossil”.
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