Girls sport their ancestors’ hair for Lunar New year in China

Long Horn Miao Girls and women gathered in a meadow to perform during the Tiaohuajie annual flower festival in Guizhou province. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2019
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Girls sport their ancestors’ hair for Lunar New year in China

  • The headpieces are inherited and used in a number of occasions
  • They are made from wool, string and the of ancestors, all wrapped around animals horns using white fabric

LONGJIA, China: Girls with large headpieces made from the hair of their ancestors and wearing intricately patterned dresses danced in isolated villages in southwest China to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Against a stunning mountain backdrop, dozens of girls and women of the Long Horn Miao ethnicity performed for the annual flower festival or ‘Tiaohuajie’, held in Guizhou province on Thursday.
Onlookers watched — smartphones in hand — as the women swirled across a meadow, wearing dresses and jackets embroidered with pink roses and geometric patterns.
But it was the towering black headdresses of the dancers that really stood out — made from wool, string and the hair of their ancestors, and wrapped around animal horns with white fabric.
“It’s really special to be at the center of attention like this. I feel quite proud,” said Yang Yunzheng, 16.
“We organize this festival once a year when we wear these headpieces. That doesn’t change with modernization.”
The Miao ethnic minority is made up of some nine million people, mostly found in China’s southwest. Of those, around 5,000 “Long Horn Miao” live in just a dozen isolated villages in Guizhou.
Their headpieces are passed down through generations and worn on a number of occasions to honor their ancestors and preserve their traditions.
The festival is held on the 10th day of the Lunar New Year.


Exhibit highlights Wellington’s formative Indian years

A handout photograph recieved in London on March 25, 2019, shows the Deccan Dinner Service, a vast silver gilt service bought by Wellington's fellow officers in the Deccan region of India as a mark of their appreciation. (AFP)
Updated 26 March 2019
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Exhibit highlights Wellington’s formative Indian years

  • The “Young Wellington in India” exhibition runs from Saturday until November 3 at Apsley House, which remains the Wellesley family’s London home, on the edge of Hyde Park

LONDON: An exhibition on the Duke of Wellington’s time in India opens in London Saturday, shedding light on formative years before he defeated French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo.
Between 1796 and 1804, as the young Arthur Wellesley, he helped overthrow the Tipu Sultan and masterminded victory in the Battle of Assaye.
A decade later he defeated Napoleon, paving the way for a century of relative peace in Europe and a time of vast British imperial expansion.
The collection includes a dinner service commemorating his leadership in India that was later supplemented with cutlery taken from Napoleon’s carriage.
It also includes books from the 200-volume traveling library that, aged 27, he took with him for the six-month voyage to India in a bid to broaden his education, having finished his studies early.
It included books on India’s history, politics and economics, Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” and philosophical works.
The “Young Wellington in India” exhibition runs from Saturday until November 3 at Apsley House, which remains the Wellesley family’s London home, on the edge of Hyde Park.
Charles Wellesley, 73, the ninth and current Duke of Wellington, said his great-great-great grandfather’s time in India set the stage for defeating Napoleon.
“It was very, very formative... There is no doubt that he learnt a great deal in India,” he said on Monday.
“Napoleon underestimated Wellington and the reason for this exhibition is to show how important in Wellington’s life was his period in India.”
The exhibition features swords, paintings and the Deccan Dinner Service, a vast silver gilt service bought by Wellington’s fellow officers in the Deccan region of India as a mark of their appreciation.
The cutlery for the service was taken from Napoleon after Waterloo and carries his imperial crest.
The service is still used by the family.
Josephine Oxley, keeper of the Wellington Collection, said the India years were “a time when he learned to meld the military and the political, and became skilled at negotiations with the locals.
“It’s a really interesting period of his life.”