COLETTE FU: We Are Tiger Dragon People Pop-Up Project

Yi Tiger Festival
Collage (c) Colette Fu

It is said that the Yi people from Shuangbai County once lived in a dense forest disturbed by snakes and wild animals. In order to prevent themselves from being hurt, they thought out a way to guard the village. Under the lead of the black “Tiger King”, they perform all kinds of dances reflecting the production, living, and procreation of the Yi people and go to each house at the village to help get rid of evils. Thus the Tiger Dance was created ever since, showing their tiger-like strength and valor. Collage (c) Colette Fu /All Rights Reserved

Rub You Black
Collage (c) Colette Fu

The Wa people live in Cangyuan, within the Awa Mountains on the borders of Burma and China. According to legend, if the Wa sacred medicine niangbuluo" is rubbed onto girls" faces, they become increasingly beautiful; onto elders"faces, they will be healthy and long-lived; onto children's faces, they will be safe and lucky. Now they rub mud mixed with perfume. Collage (c) Colette Fu /All Rights Reserved

The Stone Forest
Photograph (c) Colette Fu

The Stone Forest
Pop-Up (c) Colette Fu

The Stone Forest
Pop-Up (c) Colette Fu

The Stone Forest dates back to the Ming Dynasty- 270 million years ago an immense expanse of water with a vast stretch of limestone sediment formed over the years on the seafloor. As a result of the crustal movement, the seabed rose gradually and a large piece of land came into being. Eroded by rain and wind, limestone ranges were shaped by time. About 200 million years ago stone peaks, pillars, and stalagmites rose abruptly from the ground and towered into the sky, looking like a vast forest of stone.

The Sani live in and around the Stone Forest, and are a subgroup of the Yi. Their lives are as colorful as their embroidered clothing, and they treasure song and dance above wealth and success. Their legend of Ashima is sung from generation to generation and is an inspiration for Sani women today who refer to it as "the song of our ethics.”

Ashima was a young Sani girl engaged to be married to (her cousin) Ahei. Azhi, the son of the village leader, in a jealous rage Kidnapped Ashima and tried to force her to marry him. Azhi unleashed a trio of tigers to kill Ahei who killed the tigers with arrows and escaped unscathed.

When Ashima and Ahei were playing by a river, Azhi used his power to generate a flood. Ashima drowned but Ahei continued to call her name only to hear his own echo. Ashima turned into river stones and her words echoed through the forest: I will never disappear even as the sun and cloud disappear, my soul and my sound will exist till the end of time. Sani people say that Ashima’s suffering is their suffering. Pop-Up (c) Colette Fu /All Rights Reserved

Red Hat Yao Woman
Pop-Up (c) Colette Fu

Single women wear black Turbans, married women shave their heads and wear a red cone hat. Pop-Up (c) Colette Fu /All Rights Reserved
+ + +

“Pop-up and flap books arose in the 13th century and illustrated ideas about astronomy, fortune telling, navigation, anatomy of the body, and other scientific principles. This history prompted me to make my own series of photographic pop-up books."–Colette Fu

+ + +

With the help of a Fulbright fellowship in 2008, Colette Fu began photographing her project "We Are Tiger Dragon People". 25 of the 55 minority tribes of China reside in Yunnan and comprise only 8% of the nation’s population, with the Han representing the majority. Many people inside China and most people outside are unaware of this cultural richness. These ethnic groups have customs, histories, religious practices, languages and lifestyles that greatly differ from their Han majority neighbors. Fu's mother is a member of the Black Yi (Nuosuo) tribe. In Yunnan, an old Yi man told her, "Although an eagle flies far into the distance, its wings will fold back." A fitting image for her work.

Pop-Up Video's
All text courtesy of Colette Fu...Thank you!


Unknown said...

Amazing it is...this old earth...amazing!!

Bruce Barone said...

I am truly speechless as all this information is so incredibly fascinating and inspiring--and all new to me and I thank you for this post! WOW!!!

ruma said...

The people scene is impressive.

From the Far East.

Gillian said...

They actually look like magic 'pop up' carpets which you could throw on the floor to create a magical new world in your room.