The Peo­ple of Anxi County

China Pictorial (English) - - CONTENTS - By Yann Layma (France), Pub­lished by Hin­a­book Pub­lish­ing Com­pany and Hu­nan Art Pub­lish­ing House, Septem­ber 2017

Cov­er­ing pro­duc­tion of tea from freshly picked leaves to Tieguanyin tea on shop shelves as well as the vi­brant daily lives of Anxi peo­ple, Yann Layma recorded the down-to-earth and unique Anxi life with his cam­era.

T ucked away on the south­east­ern coast of Fu­jian Prov­ince, Anxi County is the ori­gin of Tieguanyin tea, one of the ten most fa­mous teas in China. In the pref­ace to this book, its editor Xie Wen­zhe in­tro­duced three out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions of Anxi peo­ple to the de­vel­op­ment of global tea cul­ture:

First, dur­ing the Chenghua reign (1465-1487) of the Ming Dy­nasty (1368-1644), Anxi peo­ple cre­ated the half-fer­men­ta­tion tea pro­cess­ing tech­nol­ogy and unique oo­long tea. The tech­nol­ogy was added to the na­tional in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage list in 2008.

Sec­ond, dur­ing Em­peror Yongzheng’s reign and Em­peror Qian­long’s reign of the Qing Dy­nasty (1644-1911), Anxi peo­ple dis­cov­ered and started to cul­ti­vate the fa­mous Tieguanyin tea. Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics, by the end of 2016, more than 200 mil­lion peo­ple in the world were reg­u­larly drink­ing Anxi Tieguanyin tea, which

is now one of China’s Pro­tected Ge­o­graph­i­cal In­di­ca­tion (PGI) prod­ucts.

Third, in the 1930s, Anxi peo­ple ren­o­vated tea breed­ing meth­ods and in­vented “sin­gle node cut­ting” tech­nol­ogy which was granted the Sci­en­tific and Tech­no­log­i­cal Achievement Award by the Na­tional Sci­ence Con­fer­ence in 1978. It has spread widely to many tea-pro­duc­ing ar­eas and be­come the most ad­vanced and widely used tea breed­ing tech­nol­ogy in the world to­day.

“Tea is not only a ne­ces­sity in Anxi res­i­dents’ daily life, but also a pro­found re­flec­tion of Anxi cul­ture,” opines Xie. “Eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment has made Anxi County more and more mod­ern­ized. But per­haps be­cause of tea, Anxi peo­ple still live in very tra­di­tional ways—rich and color­ful, joy­ous and happy, while har­mo­niously co­ex­ist­ing with tra­di­tional el­e­ments in­clud­ing an­ces­tral halls, tem­ples, Nanyin mu­sic, op­eras, var­i­ous folk cus­toms, and gods.”

Since 1996, fa­mous French pho­tog­ra­pher Yann Layma has vis­ited Anxi County three times. He vis­ited the tea fields, mar­kets and

lo­cal homes and took thou­sands of pho­tos. Cov­er­ing pro­duc­tion of tea from freshly picked leaves to Tieguanyin tea on shop shelves as well as the vi­brant daily lives of Anxi peo­ple, Yann Layma recorded the down-to-earth and unique Anxi life with his cam­era.

As the pref­ace to the book notes, “Fol­low­ing the ‘dis­cov­er­ing and feel­ing’ method of Yann Layma kin­dles dis­cus­sion of Anxi’s cul­tural phe­nom­ena, through which read­ers can dis­cover how Anxi peo­ple and their home­town es­tab­lished a sub­tle re­la­tion­ship with the medium of cul­ture. And if they don’t deeply feel the rich­ness and com­plex­ity of his­tory and the dif­fi­cul­ties and taste of life through Yann Layma’s lens, I would be sur­prised.”

Ac­cord­ing to Yann Layma, he has been work­ing to dis­play the lives of Chinese peo­ple and their na­ture of pur­su­ing peace and show­ing kind­ness to the out­side world. “The

Peo­ple of Anxi County re­veals life in con­tem­po­rary Chinese cities and towns and shows that the lo­cal peo­ple are al­ways smil­ing and happy with the achieve­ments of China,” Layma ex­plains. “It’s im­por­tant to tell the world how beau­ti­ful China is. For­eign­ers should not be scared by China’s sky­rock­et­ing econ­omy. Ac­tu­ally, the whole world should learn from the coun­try’s change and de­vel­op­ment in­stead. The more they un­der­stand China, the more har­mo­nious and beau­ti­ful the world will be in the fu­ture.”

Born in 1962, Yann Layma is a fa­mous free­lance French pho­tog­ra­pher. In 1985, he first ven­tured to China to do free­lance work and started a long pho­to­graphic jour­ney of nearly 30 years. He com­pleted more than 60 pho­to­graphic re­ports, took over 600,000 pic­tures and compiled sev­eral photo books about China in­clud­ing KALTEX in China ( 1987), Sea of Songs: The Dong Peo­ple ( 1990), Mag­nif­i­cent China ( 1995), China ( 2003) and his first Chinese pho­tog­ra­phy al­bum China

Yes­ter­day ( 2015). In 2005, Layma was honored with the Le­gion of Honor (Che­va­lier) for his con­tri­bu­tions to pro­mot­ing cul­tural ex­change be­tween China and France.

Oc­to­ber 3, 2016: Lo­cal peo­ple pick tea on the moun­tain.

The in­te­rior scene of an an­ces­tral hall. In Anxi County, peo­ple live in har­mony with tra­di­tional el­e­ments such as an­ces­tral halls, tem­ples, Nanyin mu­sic and op­eras.

Tem­ples are an in­dis­pens­able part of Anxi life.

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