----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (work blog// documenting lijiang studio) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ frog wang

OK… instead of managing two blogs (this one and the one on the website), I am just going to use the one on the website. Will still keep this one up, but no more new updates. I’ll update the other one weekly.


Nature God Ritual (in Tacheng): Day 1 (of 3)

This particular ritual is only performed once every 7-8 years. 

1. Dongba shaman-priests sitting around the altar

2. ceremonial altar, with offerings, yak butter, and incense

3. blood from chicken sacrifice sprinkled over shrine

4. weaving through the Ghost House

5. touching water to face

6. Dongba dance with sword and drum

7. kneeling before the Nature God(s)

8. Ghost House destruction

9. bone and amulet

Studio Tumblr blog is now back in use! We also have an official blog on our new website: http://www.lijiangstudio.org

This will now serve as a peripheral blog, a catch-all for things that can’t/ won’t fit on the website… off-site photo albums, jokes, work-in-progress, inexplicable miscellany, etc. 

There are still a few posts from last year that are pending to be posted, but I need to first fix the old hard drive in order to retrieve those photos.

Hello again and TBC…


Nature God Ritual (in Tacheng): Day of Preparation

1. cutting/ drawing on wood boards

2. HeXiudong and wood boards

3. One of the young Dongbas was using this pine twig to apply colors on the boards. I asked if he wanted to borrow a paintbrush and he said “Yes!! Of course!! Why didn’t you mention it earlier!!!” Change of tradition?

4. The God’s eye represents location of Heaven. 

5. applying color onto wood boards

6. dipping stakes in black and red

7. making incense sticks

8. He Xiudong and HeXiuShang making two animals out of willow branches, taught by their grandfather’s generation

9. finished animals

10. Ghost house. Through prayer and song, spirits are invited to attend, then later asked to leave. Ghost House is destroyed the next day. 

Fisheye Batch 3

Fisheye Batch 2

Fisheye Batch 1

He Family Portrait
Back row, left to right: Jiyu, Erge, Xuemei, Jixing
Front row: Grandma (Nainai/ Yueliang), Grandpa (Yeye/ Lao He)

He Family Portrait

Back row, left to right: Jiyu, Erge, Xuemei, Jixing

Front row: Grandma (Nainai/ Yueliang), Grandpa (Yeye/ Lao He)

Will’s studio in Zhongdian is located on the first floor of a Tibetan house in Dala village.  He makes tables out of felled walnut trees. Giant slabs sit around drying for a year or two before they can be carved, sanded, and polished. 

Will is considering taking on interns/ apprentices in the upcoming year, so email me if you’re interested: 


Older murals from HeXimi’s house. My favorite is the fake bookshelf…!

HeXimi asked Dan to refresh the orchid and bamboo paintings outside of his house.

Xuemei complimented D’s painted orchids, she said they are very pretty. HeXisheng (Ximi’s brother) suggested that D add longer shoots into the bamboo piece. 

Jee-shaun’s recent work.

Jixing feels determined to protect his home (Lashihai Lake Valley) from the effects of industrialization/ globalization. Everyone else tells him, Change is inevitable, it is a necessary part of life.

J: “A tiger is shot by a hunter, and still it howls as it goes down. I was wondering, could art be the answer?”

D: “I feel that art might not the answer, but instead, may be the tiger’s howl.” 


-paraphrased from a conversation between Dan, Jixing, Jee-shaun, Andy, and Shaina, on Naxi cultural homogenization and the destruction of natural resources

1. Dan and Jixing, painting in the courtyard.

2. Jixing’s first painting (ever)

The red swirls on top are clouds, he said. The thing in the middle is a rooftop, and underneath, you have four people. Who they are, “I don’t know.” 

Kitchen, with garbage-smoke.

Kitchen, with garbage-smoke.