Buffalo Body-Painting at Unique Traditional Festival

What started as a means to ward off intruders, is now a full-blown festival. The people of Jiangcheng County, China’s Yunnan Province, have their bulls painted and decorated by artists for a major event every year. The bulls are displayed in a riot of colors, painted with a variety of themes.

Traditionally, the bulls were painted by the Hani people of China in the belief that the practice would protect their village, mainly by preventing tigers from wandering into their homes. Of course, the threat of tigers and other man-eaters has reduced drastically in modern times, but the festival continues to be celebrated with much enthusiasm. The China-Laos-Vietnam Bull Painting Festival, as it is called, had 48 participating teams this year. The paraded bulls were hardly recognizable, covered in colors like bright blue, gold, yellow and red. But the paintings were far from abstract. The bulls served as a canvas for some real artistic talent, landscapes, portraits, and intricate patterns adorned their otherwise brown or white skin. Even the horns were covered with paint.

Photo by CNS/Li Weihua

The Hani people are mainly employed in agriculture, and their population is around 1.4 million. They have always been worshipers of nature, spirits and ancestors and strongly believe that everything in this world has a soul.

Photo by CNS/Li Weihua

Photo by CNS/Li Weihua

Photo by CNS/Li Weihua

Photo by CNS/Li Weihua

Photo by CNS/Li Weihua


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