Asian Ethnology 81 1&2 | documentary note Craft and Fieldwork Making Baskets, Mallets, and Videos in Upland Southwest China

Jon Kay

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Ethnographic documentary videography craft Baiku Yao basketry

This note introduces two short documentary videos made from recordings collected with two Baiku Yao craftspeople living in Nandan County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwestern China. I discuss my background and approach to ethnographic documentary and contextualize my role as part of a binational research team. The first video features Mr. Li Guicai weaving a rice basket in Huali village and details the craftsman’s practice. The second video follows Mr. Lu Bingzhao of Manjiang village as he makes a wooden mallet for a family member. While both documentaries foreground the creative process, they also provide a glimpse into the social lives of makers and the personal and cultural contexts of their craft work.