Zuozheng He
Zuozheng He

Photography is a good way to dive into life, to record life, says Leng Bai, a clerk at the First Northeast Electrical Power Engineering Company in Tieling City, China, who has been taking photos for more than 20 years. He captured this shot of 80-year-old musician Zuozheng He in Yunnan Province in the city of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most of Lijiang’s residents belong to the Naxi ethnic group. He is playing traditional music on the Chinese lute. “Naxi ancient music is a precious asset to China,” explains Bai. “Since today few people can play the music, I am worried about its future. That’s why I wanted to use the camera to record the image.” (Hasselblad 503CW, 50-80mm zoom lens, Kodak VS100 film.) Prize courtesy of the Guatemala Tourist Commission. The Nakhi or Nashi (simplified Chinese: 纳西族; traditional Chinese: 納西族; pinyin: Nàxī zú; endonym: ¹na²khi) are an ethnic group inhabiting the foothills of the Himalayas in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province, as well as the southwestern part of Sichuan Province in China. The Nashi are thought to have come originally from northwestern China, migrating south toward Tibetan populated regions, and usually inhabiting the most fertile river-side land, driving the other competing tribes farther up the hillsides onto less fertile land. The Nashi, along with Bai and Tibetans, traded over the dangerous overland trading links with Lhasa and India, on the so-called Tea and Horse Caravan routes. They were brought to the attention of the Western world by two men: the American botanist Joseph Rock and the Russian traveller and writer Peter Goullart, both of whom lived in Lijiang and travelled throughout the area during the early 20th century. Peter Goullart’s book Forgotten Kingdom describes the life and beliefs of the Nashi and neighbouring peoples, while Joseph Rock’s legacy includes diaries, maps, and photographs of the region, many of which were published in National Geographic. The two were friends and left the region together when the Communist troops came in. The Nashi form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People’s Republic of China. The official Chinese government classification includes the Mosuo as part of the Nashi people, although neither ethnicity support this categorization. Although both groups are descendents of the Qiang people, together with the Pumi and Yi, and notwithstanding very striking resemblances between their respective languages, the two groups are now understood to be culturally distinct, the Nakhi more influenced by the very patriarchal Han Chinese culture, the Mosuo more influenced by Tibetan culture and their own matriarchal family practices.

Naming a star ? Book of the week, week 5 2006


  1. not too happy seeing only the image, wish to listen to it (i apologize for being too annoyingly demanding, sometimes). :blush_tb: but really. some chinese traditional music are surreal, specially some bamboo flute tunes. love ’em. :smile1_tb:

  2. At the risk of over-charging the webmaster …. (which I can hardly imagine :smile1_ee:) I suggest we ask him – as an expert – to add a link in this post to some nice traditional chinese music ….. wouldn’t that be nice ????? :grin1_ee:

  3. I am willing to give you some research-time, webmaster …….. but then I expect something that touches my heart ……… :surprise_ee:
    What do you think, parvez ….. will he be able to astonish us???

  4. well gertie, if you ask me, i’d say i’m positive that mr. marcel will be able to find something really good to astonish us. he has a very good taste in music…at least, he never failed to impress me.

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