Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Jørgen Johanson | Guì Zhōu

Photo © Jørgen Johanson - All Rights Reserved
Guì Zhōu or Guìzhōu Shěng is a province in the southwest of China, and is demographically one of China's most diverse provinces, with minorities accounting for more than 37% of its population. These include the Miao, Yao, Yi, Qiang, Dong, Zhuang, Bouyei, Bai, Tujia, Gelao and Sui. 

The Miao people -at more than nine million - are one of the largest minority groups in China, and almost half of them live in Guì Zhōu. The self-given name Long Horned Miao refers to the women with their own (and false) hair wrapped around a large horn-shaped wooden comb. In the past, this comb was smaller and the tips only just protruded out from the hair. In more recent times, and especially amongst older people, the comb is extremely wide, almost the size of buffalo horns. During festival times, young women wear as many as thirty skirts and several long jackets. 

Jørgen Johanson's Guì Zhōu gallery features a number of photographs of the "long-horned" women, along with other views of the life in this province. 

In 1985 Jørgen went on his first trip to Asia. Completing the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, he tells us he was hooked on Asia and on traveling.

While most of my working life has been in software development for companies in Oslo he managed to do some long distance traveling each year, and has taken a sabbatical just to travel. Many Scandinavians actually do this. Most of his trips have been to Asia, but recently he also traveled to Africa, but he keep returning to India and China, especially in those regions with Tibetan culture and the Himalayas.