Shielded from rapid Chinese development by a cascade of steep mountains, the lush village of Dimen has kept centuries-old Dong minority traditions alive. But as highways and tunnels encroach, the future of the village is at a crossroads.
Nineteen-year-old Xia is the village’s brightest star, earning entrance to a prestigious university. Her mother planned for this day long before, working in a factory to raise the enormous sum necessary to send her. When the acceptance letter arrived, she rushed home to give her daughter a costume she had begun embroidering even before Xia was born, and money for her studies.