How Qiang Poeple Consume Starch (2/3)

“金裹银”, if translated into English directly, it says gold covering silver. You will need corn (which is the “gold” here) and rice (“silver” here) to make 金裹银.

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So how to make 金裹银?

Well, exactly the same way how you cook rice. You just add corn when you cook it. If you have more corn than rice, then you will make 金裹银. If more rice than corn, than it will be 银裹金 (Silver covering gold). We will call it “rice with corn” here. Don’t know how to cook rice?

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You can also use the “rice with corn” to make fried rice, and that will be “gold covering silver fried rice”. Exactly the same way how you make regular fried rice. Your will need:

  1. Rice (already cooked)
  2. Welsh onion
  3. Eggs
  4. Carrots
  5. Snow pea
  6. Corn
  7. vegetable oil (olive or peanut oil)
  8. Salt
  9. Pepper

Of course you can use different ingredients you like like chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp, but you will always need rice and corn.

So how to make “gold covering silver fried rice”?

  1. Chopped carrots, welsh onion into small slices.
  2. Put rice (already cooked) into a pan. Please remember to cook the rice already.
  3. Add egg into the pan, and mix it with rice properly.
  4. Use another pan to cook (fry) your corn, slices of carrots, welsh onion, and snow pea with vegetable oil for  2-4 minutes.
  5. Add those corn, slices of carrots, welsh onion, and snow pea into the pan you put your rice and eggs. Add salt and pepper, and start to cook (fry) it for another couple of minutes (should be 5-7 minutes). And it’s done.

 

(Picture resource: www.douguo.com)

You can also use the 银裹金 you already made to make this “gold covering silver fried rice”. There is only one difference, and it’s when you add the corn.

I am writing this blog right after my evening class was over. Now I am starving while writing about how to make this fry rice with all those food pictures. Hope you enjoy it.

-Culture Fanatic-

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How Qiang Poeple Consume Starch (1/3)

Most people know that rice is very common in Asia, especially in China. But to Qiang, it is very difficult to grow rice because of the high altitude and extreme weather. Now it’s not very hard to buy rice from some near area, also, potato, wheat, and corn, too. 

Some of the way they eat these starch crops are making “煮土豆”, “搅团”, “金裹银(银裹金)”, “洋芋糍粑”, and buck wheat noodle. (These were not originally from Qiang but is very common and popular to Qiang people.) I am going to talk about “煮土豆” and”搅团” in this blog post.

“煮土豆”

If we translate “煮土豆” to English directly, it means “cooked potato”. So basically it is plain steamed potato, with hot sauce or honey.

“搅团”

This can be made of corn flour (or corn starch), wheat flour, or potato, in many different shapes. “搅团” is a main source of starch to Qiang people.

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The way to make 搅团 is that you need to stir your starch very hard, in a big pot. You need to:

  1. Add water in a pot and cook it until boiled.
  2. Slowly add the starch you want in the pot while unstoppably stirring it.
  3. Remember, the more you stir, the better the result will be.
  4. If you choose to use potato for this 搅团, make sure to turn the potato into one soft and flexible particle so that you won’t find it difficult to stir your potato 搅团. You will need a 石臼 to deal you potato first. If you really choose potato, first you will have cook it with water and then put the potato into a 石臼. Then, literally smash it. If you do it right, you will be able to stir the potato thing afterward. In brief, you – a. cook the potato (with water), b. smash it (in a 石臼), then c. stir it (in a pot).
  5. You need to stir it at least a hundred time, in different directions.
  6. You need to stir it hard, at the level before you can break the pot.
  7. You can also choose buck wheat for your 搅团, if you don’t like corn, potato, or wheat that much.

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(“石臼”)

After you have done, you can enjoy your 搅团 with any sauce you want (Usually Qiang people eat 搅团 with hot chili pepper sauce). Or you can put your 搅团 into soup. It’s basically a starch food like noodle or rice, but in a hard way to make.

(Picture and information resource: baike.baidu.com)

-Culture Fanatic-

 

 

Horn Flower(羊角花)

We all know that Qiang is a minority that worships Goat. They even spread this respect to plants and flowers. One of flowers that means a lot to Qiang people is called Horn Flower. Horn flower is actually just one type of rhododendrons flower. 

Horn flower’s name simply comes from Goat horn because the shape of flower looks much like a goat horn:

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(Pink Horn Flower)

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As you can see, horn flowers can have various colors, but they all come with same shape like horn flowers. However, what they mean to Qiang people is not only limited to their beautiful appearance, they also serve to a higher purpose in Qiang people’s life.

Before marriage,groom must receive a horn flower from bride in the symbol of bride’s agreement on their marriage.

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During 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, one of china’s most famous singers, Xijun Liu(刘惜君)composed a song called “Horn Flower blossom again” (羊角花又开) in order to express her sympathy and best wish to Qiang area and whole Sichuan Province, because horn flower also means continuity of life and happiness.

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Horn Flower represents and conveys so many emotion of Qiang people from generations to generations. Next time if you go to Qiang village, do not forget to go to any mountain or field to see blossom of horn flowers.

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-By Yang

Special Qiang painting on porcelain

One of the greatest Qiang’s art tradition is painting on Porcelain. It has been a history of at least 1000 years, and the skill has never been taught outside of qiang people.

The most special part of this painting is the fact that entire process is undertook under water. In Chinese, it is called “Shui Mo”(水磨). Means painter has to immerse porcelain under water and conduct the painting, and let water to mix with paintings to come up with a blurred image. Here is how it looks like:

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Pretty impressive, right?

And this is how painter will do their painting work:

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(Source: http://www.scol.com.cn)

All of the activities are conducted by hand. There are up to 100 steps to finalize the product. The complexity of this painting process makes Qiang porcelain expensive than normal porcelains. Small plates and bottles start from $100, and large furniture such as table and chair can be sold at $50000.

Although Qiang people never teach other ehnic groups of this skill, their products have been commercialized and sold everywhere in China. Especially in Sichuan province, owning a set of Qiang’s porcelain and furniture at marriage will be considered as an honor and great social status.

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In traditional Qiang’s painting on porcelain, there has been an respect to ancient totems and imitation towards nature, there are patterns such as phoenix and dragon, goats, goat ear flower(羊角花) etc.

One of the biggest challenge though, is young people from Qiang villages resist to learn how to paint porcelain anymore, they want to go to big cities and refuse to stay at rural areas to spend years learning how to paint porcelain. This tradition has been put on the edge of disappearance right now.

 

-By Yang

 

Qiang Flute

Qiang people are really good at making crafts of their own creativity. Qiang Flute is among the most delicate crafts they make. Qiang Flute is a vertical flute that is made of two 15cm to 20cm bamboo pipes with holes on each side of the bamboo pipes and bounded together with silk threads. It looks like this:

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Looks like an iron man toy, right?

This bamboo flute is mainly used for solo performance, Qiang artists can use flute to create many forms of different music. Qiang people are really good at using music as a way of telling their story. There are stories of sadness, and happiness expressed by Qiang flute. However, most of all, people express homesickness through flute.

Qiang flute has a special sound that will immediately reminds you of the emotion associated with wishing and missing home. Popular songs include Breaking off a Willow Branch, Missing You and Salang’s Tune etc.1355724610904

When playing the instruments, qiang artist will take a deep breath at first, and blowing the flute with the movement of his/her cheek muscle, in this way they can play the flute for few minutes with only one breath. Playing the flute also requires high throat skills and finger skill, you have to utilize all parts of your body to let them work in an harmonious way.

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Since Qiang people do not have written characters, they use flute to record and pass down history and culture. Flute plays an important role in Qiang’s culture as a bridge tied for generations after generations.

 

-By Yang

王安兰 – The Representative Of Qiang

王安兰, (we’ll just call her “Wang” here), is the representative of all Qiang people right now. She was born in Septmeber, 1987 (now 29). As a Qiang member, Wang also likes dancing very much. Especially “锅庄舞“. In 2011, Wang got her college degree at Southwest University of Science and Technology, majored in Mechanical Manufacturing and Automation, started worked as a technician in Mao County, Sichuan, China. In less than two years, Wang’s outstanding performance helped her received applause from her colleagues. At the same time, Wang also became the representative of Qiang ethnicity  in 2013.

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(Picture resource: tf.sctv.com)

When Wang was first interviewed by many journalists, she had a small note book in her hands. The notebooks wasn’t about the lines for Wang to speak in front of cameras. Wang had written everything down, about the future policies of Qiang culture protection and development, in her notebook. As another down-to-earth leader, Wang had paid a lot of attention to her colleagues, about the real needs of most bottom workers.

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(Picture resource: 83133.com)

As representative of Qiang, Wang worried about that Qiang culture may slowly disappear, especially the language. Qiang language is no longer spoken frequently in Sichuan, most people there speak Mandarin. Even Wang herself was not able to speak Qiang in a complicated level. In order to prevent Qiang language from permanent disappearance, Wang asked every elementary school to have at least one Qiang language class per week in Mao County. Facing many different ethnic cultures that come to Sichuan and might replace the Qiang culture, Wang is trying very hard to protect her culture.

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(Picture resource: news.xinmin.cn)

-Cuture Fanatic-

Wolong National Panda Reserve

Wolong national panda reserve is the biggest national panda reserve located in Qiang’s region, Wenchuan county. It is the biggest panda reserve in China. Established in 1963, Wolong National panda reserve becomes many of foreign visitors’ first stop in SzeChuan Province, because it is the home for more than 150 endangered pandas. It has humid and warm climate and also panda’s favorite food- bamboo.

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Although Qiang people belive in goats, they also are a ethinic minority group that loves panda. Every year, Qiang people help with local government to protect endangered species in their region.

Wolong national reserve park is not only the national serve for pandas, but also home for golden monkeys, white-lipped deer, and red panda as well.

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Every year, hundreds of thousands of panda lovers and animal protectors will visit here to see how much they can do to protect these wonderful species.

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Special Notice: Wolong national reserve was terribly damaged during 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, the new panda center was rebuilt in Gengda county.

 

-By Yang