Xia Mingqun, 47, a grassroots member of the Communist Party of China, spends her days protecting the intangible cultural heritage of Danzhai County in Guizhou Province by photographing traditional crafts verging on extinction.
On Saturday, Xia took her camera to Yedu Village, 80 kilometers from Danzhai, to visit Wang Fangzhi, a 56-year-old woman who makes sour fish sauce in the traditional way.
Sour fish sauce is part of a distinctively local cuisine loved by many ethnic Miao residents. Yet few are engaged in the craft.
With her camera, Xia followed Wang to capture every detail of the cooking process, recording the secrets of the sour fish sauce and Miao customs.
The main ingredients of the dish are fresh fish, chili and ginger, with a little rice wine and salt added in. After the ingredients are prepared, Wang puts them in pottery jars to pickle — a process that can take several months.
Xia called the sauce a "living fossil" with unique cultural value.
"The county has 169 elements on the representative lists of intangible cultural heritage, including eight at the national level and 22 at the provincial level," she said. "I will continue to use the lens to record and protect them."
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