Blog Entries

ZGBriefs The Weeks Top Picks, May 29 Issue

These are the topics that caught our attention this week pork fat, bound feet, and a Miao festival.

In China, Pork Fat Inspires Poetry, Art and Literature (May 23, 2014, China Real Time)

It's hard to imagine that a book about pork fat would be a bestseller, but apparently that's what has happened in China.

"A table without pork fat is like literature without poetry." Say the word "pork fat" and you might conjure up queasy thoughts of high cholesterol and hypertension to the minds of many. But a new book about just that subject has sparked a wave of nostalgia among some of China's writers, painters and performers.

Book designer Zhu Yingchun invited more than a hundred contributors to share their memories about pork fat. He compiled the results into a book, titled "Pork Fat," that features literature, poetry, art and messages from the famous about the fatty meat.

Despite the increasingly health-conscious nature of consumers in today's Chinese market, the book has been popular among certain circles in China, generating about 20,000 yuan ($3,200) in sales in four months.

Given the western love for bacon, perhaps this shouldn't surprise us.

Photographer Documents Bound Feet as 'Living History' (May 28, 2014, China Real Time)

China Real Time has a post about a photographer trying to photograph the few remaining women in China whose feet were bound when they were children.

In 2005, Jo Farrell took a two-hour bus ride to a village in China's central Shandong province. There, she met an old woman called Zhang Yun Ying who allowed Ms. Farrell to take pictures of her "lotus feet." Since then, the Hong Kong-based photographer has gone back to Ms. Zhang's village every year. "[We] celebrated her 80th birthday four years ago," Ms. Farrell said. "I always look forward to going back.

Now, Ms. Farrell is on a mission to document China's remaining women with bound feet, most of whom are in their 80s and 90s. She doesn't know how many are left. Up to now she has documented "dozens" of them, mostly in Shandong but also Yunnan, using black-and-white film processed in her own darkroom.

She has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to publish a book of her photographs. You can read more details of the project here, as well as view a number of her photographs.

Photoessay: A Feast for the Eyes The Incredible Spectacle of the Ten Miao Parade (May 27. 2014, Life on Nanchang Lu)

Fiona Rielly, keeper of the blog Life on Nanchang Lu recently traveled to Guizhou to see the Sister's Meal Celebration put on by a Miao community:

As part of the Sister's Meal Festival Celebrations, the Ten Miao Parade takes place in Taijiang, Guizhou. Miao groups from ten different village areaswomen, men and children, all in their best festival dressdance and march through the streets to the town square. It is simply the most rich, colourful, and spectacular display of ethnic dress I have ever witnessed.

The photographs are gorgeous!