Journal 18: The Wind
My Inquiry project topic has been changed from Education in Xizhou to Bai Minority clothing. The most noticeable aspect of the Bai clothing is the headpiece worn by women, which is supposed to symbolize the snow, wind, moon, and flower. Because in my Phase 3, I am only supposed to have brief descriptions of my findings, I decided to write my 18th journal about how the Bai minority values wind, and why it is a symbol in Bai clothing, art, and culture.
Each of the Symbols have to do with the valley of lake Erhai, and the natural elements and geography of the area. As I've seen in Xizhou, the wind is a very strong element in the area, coming in from the north. This is because the mountains are fairly high, and the lake valley is longitudinal. Before I begin, I'd like to state that the religion of the Bai people is primarily Buddhist, so Buddha is mentioned in this myth.
In Chinese mythology, it is possible for animals to acquire a human form. One day, a snake transformed into a beautiful young woman, and fell in love with a human man. The man was warned not to become involved with the snake, so he was thrown into a prison by some monks under Erhai lake. The snake was in love with the man, so she decided to consult with Buddha for advice and wisdom. Buddha gave her a bottle of wind, and told her to use this wind to blow the water out of the lake, which her loved one was under. However, a monk tricked her and tripped her on a bridge when she was on her way to the lake. The bottle broke, and ever since then it has been strong in the Erhai valley.
I find it extremely interesting that so much symbolism and history can go into one article of clothing. If that much history can go into a headpiece, then I am excited to see what can go into the clothing.