Details of the "Mingei Tradition" Visit to china by Christine-Ann Richards

01 Feb 2005

The proposed visit to south-west China next spring is to explore the ‘Mingei Tradition’ among the indigenous peoples of the area.

The trip will depart London on Saturday 26th February, arriving in Shanghai on 27th and departing Shanghai on Sunday 20th March 2005. The visit is organised by a small group of local Chinese potters, whose interest is in all aspects of traditional crafts and craftsmanship, whether it be ceramics, textiles, jewellery, paper-making or painting. This gives us a rare opportunity to meet with fellow artists as we travel through south-west China.

Travelling overland in a small bus, within Yunnan Province, will give us the opportunity to get off the beaten track. Home to thirteen ethnic minorities, it is an area of stunning limestone karst scenery, primeval forest, mountains and rare plants and animals. Yunnan is famous for its textiles where long forgotten skills and techniques in weaving, embroidery, batik and indigo dyeing continue to flourish. Ceramics as well as the dazzling silver jewellery, which adorn their different traditional costumes, are also crafted here.

The climate in Shanghai will be similar to the UK at this time, and layers of clothes are recommended as Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan is subtropical, while the north is mountainous with snow on the peaks. Rain is always a possibility but March is one of the recommended times to travel here.

Please do not hesitate in contacting me should you have any questions about this trip or would be interested in joining another in the future:


Saturday - 16.00 Depart London Heathrow Terminal 4 Virgin Fl.VS250
Sunday - Monday - 11.15 Arrive Shanghai (2) Visit Shanghai Museum and local artists.
Tuesday - Wednesday - Depart for Kunming (2) Visit Yunnan Provincial Museum and visit local artists studios.
Thursday - Drive to Jianshui (1) Visit the old town, and a nearby town which has a 1000 year old ceramic tradition.
Friday - Tuesday - Drive to Xishuangbanna spending 5 days exploring southern Yunnan Province which borders Laos and Burma and is home not only to Han Chinese but to the many minority peoples, predominantly the Dai but also the Miao, Zhuang, Yao and lesser known hill tribes e.g Aini, Jinuo, Bulang, Lahu and Wa, each with their own style of architecture, places of worship, textiles, jewellery and ceramics. We will have the opportunity to visit local artists.
Tuesday - Travelling through areas of rice paddies, tropical gardens and rainforest containing dwindling numbers of wild elephants, tigers, leopards and golden haired monkeys.
Wednesday - Return to Kunming (1)
Thursday - Saturday - Drive to Dali (3) its old city sheltered by mountains which rise to 4000 metres and nestling by a lake, a welcome place to rest as well as visiting local artists. Mosques, Buddhist and Taoist Temples, especially that at Weishan on nearby Mt.Weibao which has some of the finest murals, express the traditions of the varied peoples of the area.
Sunday - Monday - Following the western shore of Erhai Lake we drive north towards Lijiang (2) situated at 2400 metres it nestles in a beautiful valley. An area where many rare plants now housed in western collections were gathered. The Naxi peoples who inhabit the area are descended from Tibetan Nomads and their textiles and jewellery reflect their own tradition. The monasteries belong to the Red Hat sect, and some are famous for their frescoes, which date to 15th & 16th centuries.
Tuesday - Thursday - Driving further into the mountainous region on the border with Tibet, Zhongdian (3) at 3200 metres is very much a Tibetan town and the local 300 year old Songzanlin Monastery is home to several hundred monks. If we are up to it we could take a walk among some stunning scenery as well as visit local Tibetan artists.
Friday - Return to Lijiang (1)
Saturday - Fly Lijiang / Shanghai (1)
Sunday - 13.30 Virgin Fl.VS251 05.25 Arrive London Heathrow (same day)

(Minor adjustments to itinerary a possibility)

Cost: £2,500 Sterling. Including international & internal flights, transportation, guides, accommodation, meals, museum fees. Not included visa, travel insurance.

Landprice: £1900 Sterling (not including international flights)

Christine-Ann Richards,
Chapel House,
High Street,
Nr. Shepton Mallet,
Somerset BA4 4TE, UK
Tel/Fax: 01749.850.208