Over 1200 years ago, the ancestors of the Hanis, using only hoes, turned the adverse geographical area in the Ailao Mountains in Yuanyang, Yunnan, into a large piece of farmland. By doing so, they created an ecological system along the terraces and gave birth to a piece of art featured by picturesque natural scenery. A culture surrounding the terraces has been established.

The Hanis grow red rice without insecticides. Every year when they reap, it is a chance for clansmen to foster relationships with each other since they always help each other to harvest and transfer bags of grain from the bottom of the terraces to home. Rice growing is particularly hard work in this place. Although the mountains provide farmers with desirable fields, they also pose difficulties for them. Each step in the terraces is more than one metre high. Farmers cannot use a shoulder pole while climbing up and down the field. They always carry things on the back- bricks, crops or even children can be carried in a back basket. With loads of goods on the back, one cannot avoid bending one's head. Life on the farm has made the Hanis enduring and humble.

Traditional Hani architecture features couch grass roofs. However, since the new generation prefer modern buildings, this kind of structure, called mushroom houses, are disappearing. Li Jinsong is the eldest son of the family. To raise his family, he had gone to Shenzhen to work for 15 years and came back three years ago. He insists that the ancestral house should be preserved, regarding it as a representation of family links. Whenever there is a festival, family members gather there to have a feast, where they enjoy the red rice they grow.
30 minutes
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