Dimen

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Dimen

Untouched by modernisation, the rural Chinese village of Dimen has managed to preserve many of its thousand-year-old traditions. Situated in southwest China’s Guizhou province, Dimen is home to five clans and more than 500 households of the Dong minority, but their distinctive culture is being threatened as an increasing number of young people are leaving the community and moving into urban areas for work. The Facing the Sun bridge (pictured), one of five such structures in Dimen, is known as a flower bridge for its pleasing design. It offers shelter from the rain and seats for contemplating the scenery.

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Dimen
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Dimen

Cultivating flooded rice fields has sustained the Dong community for a thousand years. Here, a woman works in a rice field which leads right up to her door.

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Dimen
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Dimen

A carpentry shop in Dimen sells coffins carved from trees which were selected when their future owners were born, one of many traditional rituals which the villagers have preserved.

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Dimen
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Dimen

Older generations continue to exert considerable influence in Dimen. The za (elder women) strap their infant grandchildren to their backs and care for them each day until the parents return from work. But many young adults now live elsewhere for their jobs, leaving their children in Dimen to be raised by their grandparents. Toughened by a lifetime of fieldwork, the hands of a za (pictured) provide loving care for her grandson, who wears a traditional hat adorned in silver.

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Dimen
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Dimen

The Dong people have no written form of their language, Kam. Instead, songs are the record of their traditions and mythic history. Here, men rebuild a house destroyed by a fire in the traditional style, using no nails or machines.

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Dimen
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