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The CUNZU Project to protect minority culture and music

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The CUNZU Project to protect minority culture and music
Nestled in the remote mountains of Guizhou (Learn more), more than 30 minority groups including Miao, Dong and Yao still carry forward their colorful cultures and timeless heritage, from music to the histories stitched onto their clothes. However, the fine craftsmanship together with unique living culture they possess is threatened in the process of modernization. We launched 触CHU and 觉JUE Projects and hope it could help to preserve the magnificent handcrafts and music of the region by fair trade and visual/sound creation. 
  
触CHU PROJECT
  

 
触Chu is a Chinese character means to touch or to make contact with something or someone. In this project, we work with more than 10 local workshops and 30 artisans from the underdeveloped villages of Qiandongnan, Guizhou to create fully handmade silver jewellery and embroidery items. Each piece is carefully handmade with exquisite craftsmanship and artistic design that experiences thousands of touch by craftsmen, connecting with their ancestors, their present and a wider world in the future. We revived few traditional styles and patterns of jewellery and embroidery that already disappeared in the region and hope to bring you a curated collection of one-of-a-kind pieces while preserving traditional and unique techniques. 
 
Miao Silver Jewellery

 
 
 
 
 
 
Silver jewellery of Miao group is second to none, both in terms of quality and variety (Learn more). We work with 8 silvermaking workshops with 20+ skillful artisans to create different collections of silver earrings, rings, bracelets, and hair accessories. Each piece could take up to several days to make. The design is inspired by traditional Miao jewellery, respecting local culture and perspective of artisans. We tried to find back the distinct styles and patterns that are extinct in the region and recover them with the help of our talented artisans (See 穗SUI dragon rings). We hope to restore confidence to the artisans through this fair trade, assist them to become role models to their communities in order to break the cycle of poverty, reviving artisan communities and silver villages.

 
 
Embroidery Items

 
Miao embroidery is some of the most intricate and beautiful embroidery in the world (Learn more). We work with women artisans who are experts in embroidery, at the same time, they are mothers, farmers and community members in the some of the poorest regions in Guizhou. The accessories and decorations are recreated from the vintage embroidery including dresses and baby carriers constructed with new fabrics and embroidery which implies high collection value. So far, CUNZU has collected over 60 rare semi vintage embroidery decorations of Miao, Gejia and other minority groups from 1970s-2000s. We would like to cooperate with museums, institutions and individuals to allow more people to appreciate and study from these disappearing embroidery pieces and technique. At the same time, we want to give the women artisans the opportunity to stay in their villages with their families without leaving their children behind.
Click here to learn more about our collection 
 
Sustainable lifystyle

 
We honor the sustainable way that indigenous communities in Southwest China work and live with the nature for the last thousands of years. The majority of raw materials that local people use to make clothes, paper and household products come from local plants which continue to grow and to be taken care of. We work with the traditional paper making artisans of Shiqiao ethnic communities in Guizhou to create the packagings of our products. All the papers are handmade with the natural material. We aspire to raise the awareness of packaging waste and sustainable way of living.
 
觉JUE PROJECT
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“觉Jue” means to feel, to be conscious in Chinese. In this project, we aim to create music encounters of contemporary creation and traditional culture, let both the audience and musicians feel and be aware of the changing landscape of Guizhou. We keep collecting rare sounds and videos that depict people’s musical lives in the ethnic region, reinterpreting the material from the perception of musicians in order to build musical dialogues between cultures. We are proud to produce the creative documentaries that gather from the precious sounds and images of disappearing instruments, crafts-making process and nature to the first hand living status of the region, to the innovative composing work of both local and Western musicians. 

So far, more than 10 villages of Miao, Shui, Dong and Yao Minorities and 20 local musicians as well as European musicians are involved. Please check our Instagram page to know more about “觉Jue”project and upcoming release.  Discussion, collaboration and promotion on music, visual and the culture of local minorities are welcomed. We also encourage people to explore other cultures and traditions in a socially conscious way.

 

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