Village elders have a saying in Longsheng: where there is soil there is a terrace. Two hours ride from the city of Guilin in Guanxi province the problem of growing rice on steep hills was long ago solved. From the Yuan Dynasty at the end of the thirteenth century the colossal task of terracing the Longsheng hills to provide a rice harvest began.
The place changes from season to season. During the spring water is irrigated naturally by rainfall reservoired throughout the winter and the terraces take on the appearance of giant ribbons slung on to the mountainside. The summer brings the green waves of rice blowing in the wind. In the autumn when the harvest ripens the fields become a golden color while often in the winter the whole of the hillside is blanketed in snow.
Hundreds of different ethnicities live in China and in Longsheng it is the Zhuang, Dong and the Yao nationalities that inhabit the hill villages around the terraces. The people still wear mostly traditional clothing (although some of the finery is reserved for tourists) and the Dong women are known for the extraordinary length they grow their hair.
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