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The Oldest Silversmith in China

Maliau, China

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  • I'm really looking forward to 2017, as my New Year's Resolution is definitely going to change everything for me. While I'm still not completely ready to reveal to you guys everything about my new journey - I will say that for anyone who has been following me and my work over the last few years should have a pretty good idea of what it is.

    In the meantime I want to share with another goal I set for myself for 2017 - to make better and more frequent photography vlogs about my work; videos that allow me to share with you, as much as possible. I’d love to show you what really goes on behind the scenes of my photoshoots and travels. In this video I decided to go back to southern China in order revisit the Miao tribes and their famous Silversmiths.

    While Miao culture can be presented though many things such as their colorful festivals, extraordinary wedding clothing and traditional music instruments. The Miao people are mainly famous around the world for one particular art – sophisticated handmade silver jewelry artwork.

    Our journey led us to Maliau village where we met 74 year old master silversmith Li-Gong and Li-Ley-Ling, his 13 year old granddaughter and 2nd generation successor. 

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    The workshop was dark, lit only by a small window and the television set. But sneaking in some 'fill light' from an LED light and trying really hard not to move the camera too much, we managed to get some beautiful images that I'm pretty pleased with.

    A unique attribute to the Miao tribes is that they have been changing constantly. Picking up different symbols, folklore and fashions that were heavily influenced by imperial Chinese culture. In a way, the Miao appearance is a visual mixture of about 5,000 years of culture and each tribe present it’s own little window into the past. The Miao tribes culture is precious, especially when considering the fact they are some of the only survivors of the Cultural Revolution that occurred during the 1960’s and 70’s in China. The Miao arts survival was only possible due to the isolated locations of their villages, which are often found in the muddy mountains and forests of the south, areas that were very hard to reach by outsiders until recently.

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    Feel free to let me know what you think about the final images and video in the comments section below and if you choose to share this page with your friends I will be very grateful.

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    1 comment

    • Janice Graham Christman

      Janice Graham Christman

      Comment Link Thursday, 19 January 2017 17:57

      I loved this video! You have such a unique way of photographing and tell the story! I am thrilled to experience the village and the silversmith and his family! Thank you for bringing scenes from places in the world that most will never see in their lifetime!

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