Children bathe in the river that curves through Dimen, crisscrossed by wooden Flower Bridges. In Dong language, Dimen means, “a place with endless spring water.”

Children bathe in the river that curves through Dimen, crisscrossed by wooden Flower Bridges. In Dong language, Dimen means, “a place with endless spring water.”

Feng Shui Master Wu carries a pig's head to a temple in Dimen.

Celebrating her daughter’s university acceptance, Mrs Wu dresses her for the first time in the costume she weaved for her. Following Dong tradition, Mrs Wu made the dress while pregnant, in anticipation of a major event in the girl's adult life.


According to Dong traditions, a mother makes the dress while she is still pregnant in anticipation of a major happy event in the girl's adult life.

Before Mother Wu takes a long-distance bus back to the factory in Guangdong, she gave Xia an envelope filled with cash, equivalent to six months of her salary. Xia turns to thank her with a kiss.

Mr Wu, unhappy about supporting his daughter’s education, pins his hopes on his 13-year-old son. He brings the boy to the woods to mark his coffin tree. When a boy is born, his family elder designates a small tree that will grow up with him and eventually become a coffin for him and his wife.

Friends and family gather at dawn to pull up a house that has been stacked by the master engineers.

An 80-year-old woman weaves her own funeral cloth so her children will not be burdened with buying one when she dies.

Xia arrives alone at a prestigious university in the provincial capital. She has never been to a city before.