Daur paper cuts

Themed paper cut work: Fish-covering and tobacco culture

Updated: Dec 9, 2019 Print
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The joy of fish-covering [Photo provided by Su Mei]

As the Daur’s traditional way of fishing, fish-covering usually takes place in pools or still water in river bends during summers. Daruul means “fish cover” in Daur and the major tool is made of wickers and like a bucket without a bottom.

When catching fish, people put the daruul upside down in the water. The captured fish are strung on a cord. The experienced fishermen can even tell the kinds of the fish according to the sound they make in daruul when cornered under the water.

Woman and her mother-in-law [Photo provided by Su Mei]

Daur people has a well-established history of tobacco planting and thus have developed a special “tobacco culture”. There is a complicated process for making tobacco, including sprouting, sowing, transplanting, ridging, harvesting, drying, steaming and pressing. Their pipes are composed of three parts with exquisite decorations, including the stem, the bowl and the mouthpiece. Designing and embroidering their tobacco pouches is a serious business that requires a lot of thought as they are the indispensable accessories.

Amber incense, the nickname of Daur-planted tobacco. The photo illustrates their traditional process of drying tobacco. [Photo provided by Su Mei]

As a household necessity, home-made tobacco used to be the perfect present when visiting friends and relatives. Therefore, a set of etiquette rules were generated: juniors should fill the pipes for the seniors every morning and night; as long as the elders need it, the youngsters are supposed to fill their pipes; equals ought to do so for each other.


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