May 16

Uighur Life, Xinjiang Provence China

For millennia Western China has been awash in the cultures of Central Asia. Some of their stories have been immortalized in The Arabian Nights and The Travels of Marco Polo.

Uighurs are a Central Asian Turckic people living in the wind swept deserts of Xinjiang Provence in Western China. I hope you enjoy this photo-essay of a seldom seen part of the world.

Boy in a Box. Khotan. Xinjiang, China.


Carpet Weaver. Khotan. Xinjiang, China.


Silk Merchant. Kashgar. Xinjiang, China.

Silk Merchant. Kashgar. Xinjiang, China.


Shopper. Kashgar. Xinjiang, China.


Getting Around. Kashgar. Xinjiang, China.

Getting Around. Kashgar. Xinjiang, China.


Uighur Butcher. Kashgar. Xinjiang, China.

Uighur Butcher. Kashgar. Xinjiang, China.


Game Faces. Turpan. Xinjiang, China.

Game Faces. Turpan. Xinjiang, China.


Jade Collectors. Khotan. Xinjiang, China

Jade Collectors. Khotan. Xinjiang, China

You can learn more about the Uighur here.

Mar 16

Photography Inspired by Traditional Art


33 Parrots Road to China

The 33 Fears, Kyrgyzstan China Border.

How does traditional art influence your image making?

Mist covered mountains on paper and silk paintings have filed my imagination since my late father brought one home from a trip to Beijing long ago. He loved Asia and China in particular. I think it’s because of his influence that I have also had a special place in my heart for Asia and always jump at a chance to travel there. Although it wasn’t obvious to me when I took it, this particular photograph was inspired by the mythical China we see in traditional art.

Feb 14

Beautiful Uighur Photo Essay

Photographer Wang Qing has produced a wondrous photo essay of Uighur spiritual practices in the Xinjiang Provence of Western China.

Thank you to the terrific blog of Tewfic El-Sawy for this.


Sep 12

Emperors and Concubines

While we know it today for it’s magnificent blue and white porcelain, the Ming Dynasty is credited with closing off China from the rest of the world, putting an end to over a thousand years of cultural and economic exchange along the Silk Road. It was the Ming Emperor Zhu Di who moved the capital to Beijing and built the Forbidden City with it’s sprawling palace complex, wall and moat. The largest building of this Chang tomb is equal in size to the largest building in the Forbidden City, yet it was made entirely with sacred Sandalwood and without the use of nails. In life, Emperor Zhu Di had sixteen concubines, he took them with him in death. Construction dates from 1409 AD.

Sep 12

China’s Earliest Buddhist Temple

In the ruins of the ancient city of Kashgar, we visited the Mor Pagoda. It was the first Buddhist Temple established in China and dates from the 2nd century AD. Ancient Kashgar was an important city along the Silk Road but was abandoned in the 10th century after internal strife and a war of succession led to the adoption of Islam as the official religion. When the city location was moved 30 km away, it continued to be an important Silk Road destination.


Aug 12

Kochkor Village to Son Kul Lake

We left Kochkor Village early in the morning and after about 40 km we turned off the main road and onto a narrow dirt one that wound it’s way up the side of a mountain. The beauty was breathtaking and at the top of the first pass we saw a man and woman on touring mountain bikes laboring up the hill from the opposite direction. Stopping to greet us, the man introduced himself as Rudy. He and his girlfriend had ridden 5000 km from their home in Switzerland. They were mere wisps, thinned and toughened by their long journey and heavily laden bikes. I asked if they were camping along the road ” oh yes, and the people are wonderful, they come out to greet you and bring you food.” We laughed about the heat of the deserts, I couldn’t imagine crossing them by bicycle! After several minutes of chatting, we bid them safe voyage to Kochkor and they were off.

Son Kul Lake is one of the larger alpine lakes of Kyrgyzstan. At 3000 meters the landscape was cold and barren of bushes and trees. Herds of horses and sheep ran freely or grazed on the stubby grass. Our yurt camp was owned and operated by nomads. As soon as we arrived, Christy and myself were corralled by a pair of women and taken aside. They carried a plastic bag between them and pulled out bits of dry bread, a greasy joint of lamb and a bottle of vodka. Feeling obligated by our new hosts we ate, drank, then joined in a traditional blessing of their children.

Heading over to the kitchen yurt, we met mountaineer Ted Fairhurst. Ted was climbing the “Seven Summits” and had just completed Mt. Elbrus. He was a terrific guy, full of good stories and great advice. After tea, a hike took us high above our yurt camp looking through the rocky outcroppings for petroglyphs. We found three of long horn sheep just as we had seen in a museum. These petroglyphs were at least three thousand years old and were early examples of the long running theme in nomadic art of rams horns.

The night was cold and my warm weather clothing wasn’t much help. In our effort to travel light, I had neglected to anticipate the needs of our two mountain camps. Ted kindly sold us his spare headlamp which he had taken up Everest, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro and many other mountains so we could see in the pitch black camp.

Breakfast was a bowl of hot oatmeal. I noted that a nomad man sat across from me wearing a tall felt hat. He was scraping the flesh from the base of a boiled sheep’s head with his pocket knife and putting it into his toothless mouth. I watched in horror and fascination for several minutes as he turned it this way and that to get at the meat. The sheep’s ears still look pliable and soft. I glanced guilty back at my oatmeal, feeling like an intruder. A short while later Christy, Sasha, Ivan and myself climbed into the car and journeyed to Tash Rabat by way of the “33 Parrots!”

33 Parrots Pass

33 Parrots Pass by Curious Lizard

One of the passes through the Pamir Mountains.