Early in the Ming Dyansty, in the late 14th century, some military units from the area of Nanjing were sent to Guizhou, bringing their families. Their descendants still form a distinct group known as the "Old Han," and preserve some elements of 14th century Nanjing-area culture. We visited the Old Han village of Jichang, a couple of miles from (I think southwest from) the town of Pingba, in Pingba xian, Guizhou. These photos show farmland and farming near the village.
The rapeseed harvest was in full swing. The rape plants produce small black seeds, from which rapeseed oil is extracted. In recent decades this has often been called canola oil because that sounds nicer.
The rape plants are cut with small hand-held sickles.
After cutting, rape plants are usually gathered in these distinctive stacks.
Rape plants are then placed on a plastic sheet, and flailed to separate the seeds from the pods and stalks.
Rapeseeds are separated from the pod and stalk fragments by sifting.
Rapeseeds are dried in the sun. I didn't see this happening out in the farmland; I saw it only in the middle of the village.
There were rice seedling beds. I got the impression that a lot of the fields from which rape was being harvested would have rice transplanted into them soon after.
Plowing with a water buffalo; this seemed the primary draft animal in the area.
A well-built irrigation channel ran beside this footpath.
The plug can be removed to allow water to flow from the irrigation channel into the field.
Coal dust would be mixed with earth to make briquettes suitable for burning as a home fuel.
Tractor pulling trailer.
The local fertilizer factory.
Note the broken glass embedded in the top of the wall
An unusually fancy grave.
Old Han village (1)
Old Han village (2)
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Copyright © 2005, Edwin E. Moïse. Revised June 5, 2005.