Chapter 1 Laboring for Living
Like nirvana of phoenix, the melody of Qiangdi(a kind of flute played by the Qiang people)echos from the root of our spirit, as the earliest ancestors return to the undecided times with the Sun Bird.
The Qiang's bloodline flowed through the history with endurance.Though people nowadays watch the moon a thousand year ago, only Qiangzai(villages of the Qiang)--the watchman, accompany the Zagunao river to undergo chilly days of loneliness, to date back to totems once glorious and spirit declining with each passing day.
Fortunately, a miraculous camera lens of the photographer rewarms the cooled time, reveals the piece of dust-laden history, and bestows tranquility and profoundness on our sight.
That is the charisma of art. In this way, again, we can hear the last cry of the ancient ethic group on the earth.
Black and white, are the base color of life, while any later painted colors will fade with time.
Laboring through night and day is the essence of life management: the Qiang people withdraw from prosperity to live in solitude. So, in this picture, what can we hear, see, smell, and learn?
Hush, otherwise the picture could shatter like a catastrophe caused by a hypocritical expression or a frivolous thought.
Therefore, keep our mind simplist and our sight purist, to reinspect the labor all day long, so that we could learn that what bend their backbone is merely a drop of sweat. All the moving scene in the pictures accuse the void and desolation of our mental degeneration.
Recording real and vivid details and process of life through ingenious view is the highest realm of art.
It's limitless to travel, and our mind could be cleaned by the perspective and presence of these black-and-white photographs.
-- humble commoner
Chapter 2 The Doom of the Qiang
Withered blooms are reborn as snow, and melting snow fosters fresh buds; as time goes by, the Qiang, the ancient ethnic group, is on the wane.
The blessing hanging on the Qiangdiao(buildings which the Qiang dwell in), the totem drawn on the sheepskin drums, are derived from the Ransan(the ancient name of the Qiang). But now, they are all teetering on the edge of extinction.
Does Qiangdiao still stand there to hear the love of first snow? Does the Xuantong(the equipment on the ropeway ) and Liusuo(a rope as a tool to cross river) on high still miss the vanishing smoky scent haunting over their hometown? Qiangzai, if you could speak out your gratitude, the thousand-year history would choke on its reply.
Squirrel lost many a pinecones on the way that memorizes the directions of branches; heaven has no road signs, only the departed know how tough the way to it. All the creatures on the earth repay destiny with faith and sorrow. But the mountain, compassionately and quietly blessing them all, cannot defend a sneeze of the nature--Wenchuan earthquake .
Grassland lost the shepherd, and the shepherd lost his flocks; flocks cuddled and wailed on the meadow covered by snow, and the whip, lying there in silence, waited for its little master. This is not a fairytale, but the tragic scene after the great calamity.
Men have gone to heaven, with kerchief on head and shoes embroidered cloud pattern on foot; women have gone to heaven, with kerchief on head and unfinished shoes in hands. The lividity hazy sky was depressed by homeless birds and the dying mournful song. Cloud pattern shoes, how could you reach the destination of faith.
Dumb the Qiangdi waiting in ruins, nostalgic muffled sheepskin drums linger over the soul of the departed, over the happy affection dancing in the bonfire, over the fruitful days of beating clothes(an ancient way for woman to wash clothes). Since then, the miserably winding Dawen River has whispered the song of departure for the living.
Chapter 3 A Painful Place in Silence
口衔凛冽山风的苍鹰呵， 用你熟悉的目光带我回到远方。最高的山峦和雪峰，我的故乡。但愿这不羁的经过，别吵醒，山崖上，那些沉默的岩石， 那些在岁月里凝固的火。
Holding biting wind in beak, via its sophisticated eyes, the eagle guides me to my homeland in the distance, where the highest mountains and snow peaks soar. Wish my unruly footprints may not wake up the silent rokes lying on the cliffs, ignite the dead fire in years.
Walking along the Ming River to trace the source, I perceive the sunlight and the rain get thinner as I climb higher. Though with fewer praise, they still nourish all the creatures selflessly.
一个曾经的游牧民族，掩埋刀弓和先祖遗骨的栖地。林立的羌寨掮起的高度， 无论怎样虔诚的步履，再无法， 叩响古老文明遥远的逸响。
This has been a place of nomads before, where arms and ancestors sleep soundly. However, currently, the old civilization can no longer be wakened, no matter how tall the Qiangzhai are, how piously we walk through.
Like a silver lighting, the Zagunao River tenderly split the strong chest of Sha Eda Mountain, opening a gate for us to flow freely between the present and the history.
Like swards towering for thousands of years, Qiangzhai brought in auspicious light from the distance to bless the Qiang and the sheep in legends.
As smoke signals go out, hooves die away, the blood of the Qiang were sent by the eagle to a place out of reach.
今夜，龙溪温暖的火塘边， 羌族民歌洞开的时空里， 远来的游人， 左手红尘，右手天涯。
Tonight, from far away, travelers who rove all over the world, sitting by the warm fire nearby Longxi(a place), go back to the years when the Qiang's song can be heard.
Chapter 4 Legend from the Lens
Like a traveler, our spirit can travel in different ways to enrich mental time in limited physical time. With the lens going back to the past, we refresh ourselves.
Thus, the lens guide us to return to that days.
When join in the Guozhuang（a kind of dance around a bonfire), we can date back to the old days to discover the development of the culture of the Qiang.
When join in the Guozhuang, we can learn the nature and qualities of the people; in the dancing fire, we can see the flaming lives still flaming, the boiling life still boiling. The expectation in the fire, the love on the horseback, the enjoyment in the smoke from the chimney, are all recorded in years.
As a sweet throstle, a tender leiothrix, the tune of Kouxian(a small reed instrument) comes from the petal-like lips of the Qiang girls, unfolding the simplist folk customs accumulated for thousands of years.
Following the sun and the moon, the Qiang move forward to chase for happiness. All the way, they beat sheepskin drums lifted high over their heads to leave the clear rolls of drums in years.
As the Qiang girls deftly embroider cloud pattern shoes, as the shoes implying the old oracle and heartly expectation are worn, the heaven will be near.
Chapter 5 The Unrecoverable History
Merely, through a single lens, can the hourglass of history be stopped? Can the ignored instincts of human beings be restored? Can the indifference to fading time be corrected? The destructive earthquake with shakes, cracks and collapse six years ago, was not only the painful experience of Qiangzhai, what about the traces left on Qiangzhai by time? What about the shattered pieces of civilization?
We always talk about ancient things to show reverence for them, we always talk about their non-replication to worry about the withered bloodline. But the Qiangzhai, the Qiangdiao, the figure of the ancient Qiang people, and the culture of them, are all in silence.
Inhabiting in heaven shortens the distance between memories and expectations. On the earth, the moon climbing from the Qiang's heart is still quiet; the lonely smoke in desert is still bleak. Nothing changed but these memories and expectations can only shiver in the earthly indifference.
The universe works as usual. Still, the Qiang people are on their arduous way, hoping the Qiangdi could bring the ancient time back to life; the mountain empathizes with the people inhabiting by water, expecting the eagle to bring back news of transmigration. Let the old totems hang high on the white stones and sheepshead, let the wild time return. Finally, there will be the awakened who lead us faithfully to protect and worship the old history that we experienced…and make us believe that our actions will last forever.
Therefore, we should tribute to the conscientious contributions made by the photographer, Xuxian. Among pictures and words, you can hear the heartbeats, feel the breath, which is a full echo of the Qiang’s culture from the depth of its soul.