Miao Villages in Xijiang, Guizhou— Heaven on Earth

In the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture in Guizhou Province, 36 kilometers Northeast to the Leishan County, there is a Miao village, where there lives about one thousand families. They are decedents of the Xi family Branch of Miao people. There are mountains surrounding the Miao village, on which there are terraces climbing up to the clouds. The Baishui River is running through and divides the village into two.

You can see a lot of Diaojiaolou (buildings on stilts) in the Miao village. It is a unique architecture style that is built on the mountains, and very close to each other. There usually are bamboos grown behind and in front the house, decorating the building in green. Generally speaking, a diaojiaolou has three floors. Based on well-placed bluestones and pebbles, the first floor is to house livestock. People live on the second floor, while the third floor is used as a granary.

On the second floor, there are long corridors surrounded by wooden-fences. You can usually see Miao ladies sitting on the benches over there, doing their embroidery work. Therefore, people named it as the “Beauties’ Leaning Spot”.

When you are walking on the bluestone streets in the village, you can not only see, but also smell the Chinese sweet gum trees by your sides. Xijiang Miao village is located in the southeast of Kaili, Guizhou Province. From the Leishan road towards northeast, there lives about 1000 families, which is believed to be the largest Miao village around Kaili area. That is why it is often called the “one-thousand family Miao village”.

Overlooking the Xijiang Miao village

Most of the buildings here are diaojiaolous, built with Chinese sweet gum trees, the color of which turns from dark red to golden yellow in the sunset. The roof of the diaojiaolou is built with green tiles or China Fir barks. There are typically three rooms and a side room in the building, five rooms at most.

The first level of the diaojiaolou is space for farm tools, animals and fertilizer. The third floor is a storage room for millets and other crops. The second floor is the living area, composed of the living rom, kitchen, bedrooms, and guest rooms.

A wooden decorated long table is put right in the middle of the living room, serving guests for banquets. In front of the living room, there are curved railings where people can rest under the shade in the summer. When you step into the building, you can see the wooden screens carved with flower and bird motifs, and special frames were also designed for the doors and windows. The building not only represents the unique architecture style of the Miao people, is a comfy place to live, but also a work of art.

Surrounding the Miao village, there are four rivers—all converging into the Xi River. The Xi River separated the Miao village as two from the south to north. On the north of the river there lies Pingzhai, Dongyin and Yangpai, while on the south are Shuizhai, Wuga, Yehao and Nangui. Miao people use the river water for farming. There are two bridges connecting the north and south.

Miao people are very friendly and outgoing. In holidays or regular days, you will be very welcomed by everyone in a Miao family as their guests. They will offer you rice wine, again and again, just to show you their greetings and respect. If it is holidays, there will be a even bigger ceremony.

The daily food in Miao village is mostly sour, spicy and sweet. There are pickles, salted fish, meat and bamboo roots according to the season. The sour fish soup is especially delicious. When the Miao New year is coming, the Miao families will prepare sweet wine, frozen fish for their guests. They also like vegetables collected directly on the mountains.

Xijiang is famous as the “Hometown of Lusheng (a reed-pipe wind instrument)”. During the sixth month and tenth month of the lunar calendar, Miao people, old or young will put on their festival costumes, gathered in the Lusheng performance place, and start dancing with the music.


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