Dedication of a Kam drum tower.
Drum towers have long been important to the Kam minority people in China. During the "cultural revolution" they were torn down and burned or the wood used for other purposes. In many villages drum towers have not returned but in others, as with this one, the desire to reclaim their cultural past has contributed to the rebirth of drum towers. This community has four towers, with two that escaped the cultural revolution and are very old. The woodwork is a source of pride and tradition. Drum towers are a place for the community to come together and socialize. In past times they had a large drum that served to warn the community in case of war or other emergencies. The drums were an artifact that has not returned in large number and in this community they did not escape destruction. It is hoped that a large drum can be obtained for the new drum tower and from my understanding a traditional drum had been commissioned but there are few who know how to make these.
One more note, there are no nails used in the building of a drum tower, it is all mortise, tenon and wood peg contstruction. They are very solid and beautiful to behold.
As spectacular as all this can be fireworks along with everything else that pollutes, is of grave concern around the world. The Chinese Central Government issued a request that fireworks be used only on the day of actual activities of a celebration but this from what I have seen, is ignored. This was a day of celebration and dedication.
Gao Xiu Village, Guangxi Province, China
made possible by grants from: UNESCO-LINKS and UNDESA