Uyghur dance: Dolan meshripi (CCTV dance competition)

The Dolan people are grouped part of the Chinese Minority group known as Uyghurs. This piece is a part of a meshrep dance, performed at a CCTV dance competition. The meshrep is actually a longer, elaborate community gathering which displays music, dance, poetry, and conversation. The traditional Meshrep also falls under UNESCO’s Intangible World Heritage in Need of Safeguarding. 

Found among the Uygur people concentrated largely in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Meshrep constitutes the most important cultural carrier of Uygur traditions. A complete Meshrep event includes a rich collection of traditions and performance arts, such as music, dance, drama, folk arts, acrobatics, oral literature, foodways and games. Uygur muqam is the most comprehensive art form included in the event, integrating song, dance and entertainment. Meshrep functions both as a ‘court’, where the host mediates conflicts and ensures the preservation of moral standards, and as a ‘classroom’, where people can learn about their traditional customs. Meshrep is mainly transmitted and inherited by hosts who understand its customs and cultural connotations, by the virtuoso performers who participate, and by all the Uygur people who attend. However, there are numerous factors endangering its viability, such as social changes resulting from urbanization and industrialization, the influence of national and foreign cultures, and the migration of young Uygur to cities for work. Frequency of occurrence and the number of participants are progressively diminishing, while the number of transmitters who understand the traditional rules and rich content of the event has sharply decreased from hundreds to tens.

- UNESCO

asiasociety:

Naadam: 12 Must-See Photos From Mongolia’s ‘Three Games of Men’ Festival

The annual Naadam festival occurs across Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and other communities in the middle of July each year. The colorful festival is renowned for its three sporting events: archery, horse racing, and wrestling.

Read the full story here.

isaia:

positive-press-daily:

Taiwanese linguist saving Kanakanavu language that helped give birth to languages spoken by 400 million people

Her eyes lit bright with concentration, Taiwanese linguist Sung Li-may leans in expectantly as one of the planet’s last 10 speakers of the Kanakanavu language shares his hopes for the future.

“I am already very old,” says 80-year-old Mu’u Ka’angena, a leathery faced man with a tough, sinewy body and deeply veined hands. A light rain falls onto the thatched roof of the communal bamboo hut, and smoke from a dying fire drifts lazily up the walls, wafting over deer antlers, boar jawbones and ceremonial swords that decorate the interior like trophies from a forgotten time.

“Every day I think: Can our language be passed down to the next generation? It is the deepest wish in my heart that it can be.”

Kanakanavu, Sung says, has a lot more going for it than just its intrinsic value. It belongs to the same language family that experts believe spread from Taiwan 4,000 years ago, giving birth to languages spoken today by 400 million people in an arc extending from Easter Island off South America to the African island of Madagascar.

“Taiwan is where it all starts,” says archaeologist Peter Bellwood, who with linguist Robert Blust developed the now widely accepted theory that people from Taiwan leveraged superior navigation skills to spread their Austronesian language far and wide. At least four of Taiwan’s 14 government-recognized aboriginal languages are still spoken by thousands of people, but a race is on to save the others from extinction. The youngest good speaker of Kanakanavu, also known as Southern Tsou, is 60, and the next youngest is 73.

“To survive a language has to be spoken,” Sung said. “And with this one it isn’t happening.”

It’s a story repeated in the remote corners of the earth, as younger generations look to the dominant language for economic survival and advancement, whether it be English or, in Taiwan’s case, Chinese. Aboriginals account for only 2 percent of the Taiwanese population of 23 million. Many young people are leaving Dakanua, a picturesque village in the south that is home to the Kanakanavu language, to work in the island’s cities.

Sung is clearly revered by Dakanua’s tiny cadre of Kanakanavu speakers, who are happy to spend long hours going over their language with her and a small group of graduate students she brings to the village from National Taiwan University in Taipei.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, they sat outside a well-ordered cluster of whitewashed concrete buildings, painstakingly documenting the proper use of the imperative and the grammatical subtleties of concepts like “it could be that” or “it is possible that.” In the background the bamboo and palm tree covered contours of Mt. Anguana protruded through a moving blanket of fog and mist, and a thin rain fell in the Nanzixian River valley below.

Life here is defined by farming, a reverent belief in Christianity — Presbyterian and Roman Catholic missionaries converted almost two-thirds of the aboriginal population in the 1930s and 40s — and chronic concern about the harsh elements. Five hundred residents in the nearby village of Hsiao Lin Tsuen were buried alive 3 1/2 years ago when torrential rains unleashed by a typhoon sent thousands of tons of mud cascading down onto their homes.

Sung started working with aboriginal languages almost by accident. After returning to Taiwan in 1994 as a newly minted doctor of linguistics from the University of Illinois, her department head at National Taiwan University pushed her into the discipline, insisting that Taiwan’s majority Chinese population had to understand more about its aboriginal minority.

“At first I was intimidated,” says Sung, now the director of the university’s Graduate Institute of Linguistics, one of a handful of Taiwanese bodies seeking the preservation of the aboriginal languages as part of a wide-ranging effort funded by the government. “I had no idea of how to carry out my field work among the aboriginals. But over time I got used to it. And I learned the importance of Taiwanese aboriginal languages in the overall scheme of Austronesian dispersion.”

The deep rooted linguistic seeds the dispersal sowed have now morphed into dozens of languages — Malay for example, and the Philippines’ Tagalog — that make Austronesian one of the largest language groups in the world.

The dispersion is illustrated by the similarities of the words for “ear.” What linguists call the proto-form — the Taiwanese basis from thousands of years ago — is usually rendered as “galinga.” In modern Taiwanese aboriginal dialects that becomes “calinga,” while in the Philippines it’s “tenga,” in Fiji “dalinga,” in Samoa “talinga,” and in Papua New Guinea “taringa.” Taiwanese aboriginals traveling to New Zealand, for example, are struck by the close relationship of their own languages to Maori, particularly when they hear the local version of numbers.

Sung’s most recent project was collating a Chinese-English dictionary for the Seediq language spoken by the tribe of Taiwanese mountain dwellers memorialized in “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale,” a 2011 film recounting their rebellion against Japanese occupiers in the 1930s. Last February she began her work with Kanakanavu, hoping she can preserve the language before the last speakers die out.

The odds against her are long. Even many 40- and 50-year olds are incapable of mouthing anything more than a few simple phrases in their native tongue.

Still, frolicking on the neatly cut lawn of Dakanua’s deserted bed and breakfast is a three-year old girl with a runny nose, an infectious smile and a lovely lilt to her voice.

The odds against her are long. Even many 40- and 50-year olds are incapable of mouthing anything more than a few simple phrases in their native tongue.

Still, frolicking on the neatly cut lawn of Dakanua’s deserted bed and breakfast is a three-year old girl with a runny nose, an infectious smile and a lovely lilt to her voice.

She is the granddaughter of Mu’u Ka’angena, the man with the leathery skin, and just within earshot she begins conversing with him in very simple Kanakanavu.

“Did you hear that?” Sung asks. “Isn’t it wonderful? She’s our hope for the future.”

If it weren’t for Kanakanavu, Tagalog (my language) wouldn’t exist.

jayaprada:

Bihu Dance—Assamese folk dance

Bihu festival witnesses the colorful show of Bihu dance celebrated for the arrival of spring in the Assamese New Year. For Assamese cult, Bihu is a time for celebrating their cultural traditions and livelihood simultaneously. Assamese folk smudge the oncoming festival and enjoy this same with a lot of pomp and show. This is an extremely energetic, fast and an eye-catching dance performance with the rhythmic exuberance of Bihu. Bihu is generic to celebration in agrarian Assam. This joyous dance is performed by both young men and women, characterized by brisk dance steps, flinging rapid hand movement, stylish footwork and a rhythmic swaying of the hips in order to represent youthful passion and reproductive urge and ‘Joie-de-vivre’.

History of Bihu Dance

Bihu dance has been performed from time immemorial during the seedtime. The spring festival “Bohag Bihu” or Rangali Bihu has a long tradition of being celebrated in the middle of April, Bhugali (Magh Bihu) and Kangali (Kati Bihu) marking its unique phase in the farming calendar and also during the season of marriage. The Rangoli bihu marks the agricultural New Year at the advent of seeding time and is celebrated as the Festival of Merriment. The Kati Bihu marks the completion of sowing and transplanting of paddies while the Magh Bihu marks the end of the harvesting period.

Of the three Bihu festivals, Rongali Bihu is celebrated with greatest thrill as it marks the arrival of spring - the agricultural season. People of all faiths and creed celebrate Bohag Bihu by singing traditional Bihugeets and performing group folk dances. Rongali Bihu has its etymological roots embedded in Sanskrit Vishuvam meaning vernal equinox when day and night is of equal duration. At the time of Rongali Bihu people welcome the spring season and pray for a bountiful and rich harvest. Bohag Bihu falls in the first month of the Assamese calendar called Bohag. This corresponds to mid-April according to English calendar year. Rongali Bihu normally starts from the 13th day of April.

Features of Bihu Dance

The dance is a part of the Bihu festival that starts in mid-April, when harvesting work of farming is over pregnant with the essence, feelings of youth and energy. Songs sung in Bihu are woven around themes of love and often carry erotic overtones with people adorn traditional attires like Dhoti, Gamocha and Chadar, Mekhala. The dance is performed in an open space during daytime but there is a clear distinction of separate sexes. The youths perform this dance accompanied by songs of erotic sentiment, loud beating of the Dhol, soft strains of Pepa made from the buffalo horns and manjira, tokka (bamboo clappers) and many more indigenous musical instruments. Sometimes in between, the performers sometimes sing along with dances. In a course of dancing, the dancers commonly form a circle or parallel rows. The dance has been noted for maintaining authenticity and at the same time displaying the traditional Assamese handlooms and handicrafts in their glory and beauty by the dancers.

Verse VI-28 of Kalidasa’s Ritusamhara accounts: “May the bodiless one, the conqueror of the world, accompanied by the Spring season ever grant your happiness, he whose sharp shafts are the beautiful mango blossoms, whose mighty bow is the lovely Kimshukaleaf of which the string is formed by the row of bees, whose spotless white umbrella is the Moon: whose lordly elephant is the breeze from the Malaya mountain and whose bards are the cuckoo birds” and Bihu Dance aptly establishes such atmosphere.

(via theirriandjhiquishow-deactivate)

narrativepriorities:

justamus:


A rare vintage photograph of an onna-bugeisha, one of the female warriors of the upper social classes in feudal Japan.
Often mistakenly referred to as “female samurai”, female warriors have a long history in Japan, beginning long before samurai emerged as a warrior class.



Hearts in my eeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyyes


Guys, this isn’t an Onna-Bugeisha. The source clearly states:

Unknown photographer. Portraits of Japanese Kabuki actors and geisha. 1870s. 

I would say in all likelihood this person is not a trained soldier at all, and the armor is totally decorative.

narrativepriorities:

justamus:

A rare vintage photograph of an onna-bugeisha, one of the female warriors of the upper social classes in feudal Japan.

Often mistakenly referred to as “female samurai”, female warriors have a long history in Japan, beginning long before samurai emerged as a warrior class.

Hearts in my eeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyyes

Guys, this isn’t an Onna-Bugeisha. The source clearly states:

Unknown photographer. Portraits of Japanese Kabuki actors and geisha. 1870s. 

I would say in all likelihood this person is not a trained soldier at all, and the armor is totally decorative.

(via )

mehreenkasana:

Pakistani grooms and brides on their weddings:

The main aim of Pakistani wedding functions is to bring the bride, groom, and their families closer, and there are many pre-wedding customs that are usually observed before the actual wedding. Those customs include Mangni - منگنی (engagement), Mayun - مایوں (for the bride and groom in separate places where relatives feed them sweets and friends dance), Ubtan - ابٹن (the bride is made to sit down among her relatives and friends while they cover her with crushed sandalwood paste for a milky glow), Dholki - ڈھولکی (friends and family get together and sing songs for the bride and groom around a little drum aka the dholki), Rasm e Mehndi رسمِ مہندی (friends and family of the bride and groom put henna on their hands and sometimes in their hair, mithayi is eaten), Baraat - بارات (the groom and his family arrive to take the bride with them, drums are beaten, food is distributed, gifts are exchanged, etc) , Nikah - نکاح (the Islamic tradition of rendering a marriage official; the groom and bride are asked for their consent for the marriage, once approved the Nikah is declared in the public), Munh Dikhayi - منہ دکھائی or Doodh Pilayi - دودھ پلائی or Joota Chupayi - جوتا چہائی (cousins and friends of the groom and bride tease the couple for money after the groom sees the bride or if the groom is given a glass of milk or if one of the bride’s sisters or brothers take the groom’s shoe off and ask for money in exchange; Possibly one of the funniest and exciting parts of the wedding day), Rukhsati - رخصتی (the bride says farewell to her family and leaves with the groom), and Walima - ولیمہ (day after Nikah, food is distributed, families get together). 

Photography by Mir Anwar.

(via fuckyeahsouthasia)

stefotobystefan:

Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang, China

stefotobystefan:

Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang, China

tammuz:

Statue of a bearded male worshiper from Ur’s Early Dynastic Era (2650-2550 BC). The Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. 
Photo by Babylon Chronicle

tammuz:

Statue of a bearded male worshiper from Ur’s Early Dynastic Era (2650-2550 BC). The Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. 

Photo by Babylon Chronicle


This charcoal rubbing was taken in 1983 from a carved stone relief at the Cambodian temple known as Angkor Wat. It is from one of Angkor Wat’s many sequential stone wall carvings that depict key scenes from the Ramayana epic.
This image depicts a scene where the monkey god Hanuman finds Rama’s wife Sita, who has been captured and hidden by the demon Ravana. Sita gives Hanuman her royal ring as a sign to Rama that she is still alive.

This charcoal rubbing was taken in 1983 from a carved stone relief at the Cambodian temple known as Angkor Wat. It is from one of Angkor Wat’s many sequential stone wall carvings that depict key scenes from the Ramayana epic.

This image depicts a scene where the monkey god Hanuman finds Rama’s wife Sita, who has been captured and hidden by the demon Ravana. Sita gives Hanuman her royal ring as a sign to Rama that she is still alive.

(Source: dispirits)


“Inspired by love and shaped to perfection, the Taj Mahal immortalizes one man’s love for his wife and the splendor of an era.”
Photo by Adam Gruchala.

“Inspired by love and shaped to perfection, the Taj Mahal immortalizes one man’s love for his wife and the splendor of an era.”

Photo by Adam Gruchala.

(Source: dispirits)