The way of life has not changed much over the last centuries for the Uyghur people who live close beside the great Taklamakan desert in northwest China, in the countryside outside the city of Hotan. Farmers grow crops to feed their families and to sell at the local outdoor markets. They raise sheep and chickens. Craftsmen work in their homes or small family compounds weaving rugs and silk cloth, weaving baskets, carving wooden bowls. It is a world with more donkey carts than cars; a world where water is precious and must be carefully rationed.
Scenes Along a Country Road
Paved roads soon turn into poplar-lined dirt lanes as you travel into the countryside passing fields and farms, small towns and villages.
Life along a country road
Woman tending sheep
Child riding on top of a load of cornstalks
Uyghur Women and Young People
The Uyghur people are distinct from the Chinese. Their physical appearance, their language and customs, and their Muslim religion are more like those of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia.
The feltmaker's children in the family courtyard
Girls weaving silk rug
Young girls caught on camera
Local Wednesday Market
Dirt paths are lined with rows and rows of stalls where local farmers sell vegetables, fruits, clothing, hats, kitchen wares, freshly baked bread or naan to neighbors from nearby towns and villages. Sheep and goats and donkeys and chickens are sold a little further down the paths.
Eating hard-boiled eggs at the Wednesday Market
Woman selling peaches from her donkey cart
Woman weighing vegetables for a sale
Uyghur Craftsmen's Homes
Houses in the countryside are built upon frames of wooden slats and twigs that are covered with clay-like mud. Inside the house is a large room where the family prepares and eats their meals and where they live and sleep on rug-covered wooden platforms.
Basket weaver at rest in his workroom
Young man making a felt rug in the courtyard of his home
A family sitting around the eating cloth
Carpeted platforms (supas) serve as seating areas and as beds in the main room of the house