From photographer Zhang Xiao:
These photographs were taken in Shanxi Province in the Northwest of China. They document the ancient customs, which originate from pagan religious beliefs. Today a number of these customs have survived as one of the most important cultural practices in the Lunar New Year. People dress in stunning costumes, paint their faces, and stage themselves as mythical creatures. I suppose, by contrast to their daily peasant lifestyle, on this special occasion everyone must have felt quite extraordinary, especially since they were representing powerful ancient deities. When I first saw them line up and walk around in the village, I kept on wondering: did I step into wonderland?
Zhang Xiao captures his images with a Holga camera, known for its “low-fi” aesthetic.
More of Shanxi after the jump…